Date of Defense

Spring 4-20-2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ)

Department

Sociology and Criminal Justice

Committee Chair

James McCafferty

Committee Member

Melanie Holland

Committee Member

Beverly Reece

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the impact that officer-offender relationships have on the rehabilitation of justice-involved women. Though there has been an overall decline of individuals involved with the justice system over the last decade, researchers have found that the rate of justice-involved women has increased (Alper et al., 2018; Kaeble & Alper, 2020). Likewise, the use of community corrections as punishment has increased as an alternative to traditional incarceration. As recently as 2020, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported an increase in women entering the national jail system. This increase of justice-involved women, coupled with concerns of the treatment of women by previous criminology research, is the backbone of this study. These concerns range from the unequal assessment of women in correctional institutions and while reentering society, the mismanagement of female offenders’ needs, and the lack of equity and care by the justice system to accommodate this growing population. This research intends to use prior research of female offenders, the recent conception of relationship theories, and the institutions established to determine what works.

This research uses secondary data collected by Morash et al. (2018) and accessed through Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). The sample consists of 402 women who are completing community supervision – either probation or parole and their 73 supervising officers. The data was analyzed and recoded using Stata to create an original working dataset. Chi-square and logistic regression tabulations were run to answer the following hypotheses: Hypothesis 1 considered if the officer-offender relationship affected the offender’s recidivism rate. Hypothesis 2 analyzed if an offender with a positive relationship with their supervising officer had greater odds to complete their assigned treatment. Hypotheses 3 and 4 evaluated how an officer’s and offender’s perceptions of authoritarianism can affect officer characteristics that are beneficial when creating a positive relationship. The findings were favorable in affirming each of the hypotheses. This research shows that the current justice system structure is capable of making significant differences with the systems already in place. These improvements can have a large and lasting impact on the lives of justice-involved women and may effectively reduce their presence within the justice system if handled correctly.

Available for download on Monday, May 04, 2026

Share

COinS