3 Scopus citations


With the growing number of women involved in the criminal justice system, there is a need to examine female offenders in order to understand potential differences which might have important implications for treatment assessment and planning. The purpose of this study is to describe criminal histories, substance use, and mental health of two samples of female offenders in the community: Drug court (n = 173) and probationers (n = 160). Findings suggest differences between the groups on measures of lifetime and recent substance use. A higher percentage of female probationers reported lifetime use of five substances, but female drug court participants reported more recent substance use. In addition, a higher percentage of female probationers reported lifetime depression, anxiety, cognitive impairment, and difficulties controlling violent behavior, as well as recent mental health problems when compared with drug court participants. Logistic regression models indicated that membership in these two groups could be predicted by drug use and mental health. These findings suggest that a "one size fits all" approach for working with community substance using female offenders may not be appropriate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-74
Number of pages20
JournalWomen and Criminal Justice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to acknowledge the large contributions of the Administrative Office of the Courts and Kentucky Department of Corrections/Probation and Parole. This project is supported by grant # R01DA11309 and grant #R01DA11580 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The opinions expressed are those of the authors.


  • Criminality
  • Drug use
  • Female offenders
  • Mental mealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Law


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