Predictors of Recidivism for Women Prisoners

Robin Bates, University of Illinois - Chicago
Patricia O'Brien, University of Illinois at Chicago

An increasing number of women are serving time ins tate and federal prisons, and their rate of annual growth is increasing faster than that of male prisoners. The majority of research about women prisoners has focused ong ender differences in crime rates and etiology, court processing or sentencing, or have provided descriptive profiles. Very little research has focused on the factors predicting female reoffending and/or whether they differ from those that are predictive for male offenders. This study examines the extent to which demographics, family and childhood history, relationships, institutional experiences, offense history, and physical and emotional needs affect recidivism among female prisoners. One-hundred-sixty-eight women prisoners slated to be released within a 6 month period were administered an extensive survey covering demographic variables, education and work history, family history and relationships. legal and institutional history, substance use, and physical and mental health. One year after rlease, arrest records of participants were examined. Regression and survival analyses were performed to determine what factors consistently predicted recidivism, as well as patterns of recidivism among women offenders.

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Updated 05/20/2006