Intersectional pathways: The role victimization plays in women’s offending and in prisons

Katherine Lorenz, Rebecca M. Hayes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Most people in US prisons are men, but the incarceration rate for women rose 700% from 1980 to 2017. Women of color and transgender women are disproportionately housed in correctional facilities compared with their representation in the population. Despite the increased volume of women in prisons, researchers, policy makers, and practitioners often fail to consider the context of women’s offending. For example, there is a clear connection between victimization and offending in women. Most women who are incarcerated have experienced some form of sexual or physical victimization as a child, an adult, or both, prior to incarceration and have physical and mental health issues stemming from these experiences. These issues will often go unaddressed or be exacerbated while incarcerated, likely contributing to a high recidivism rate. This chapter reviews the theoretical and empirical research pertaining to the role of victimization in women’s offending and incarceration. In reviewing this research, we consider the influence of intersectionality and the marginalization of women who are incarcerated.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen and Prison
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9783030461720
ISBN (Print)9783030461713
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Feminist pathways
  • Incarcerated women
  • Intersectionality
  • Mental health
  • Prisons
  • Treatment
  • Victimization


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