Project Title

The Future is Female: An Examination of Officer-Client Communication of Risk Using a Sample of Justice-Involved Women

Presenters

Darian HailesFollow

Faculty Sponsor Name

James McCafferty

Abstract (300 words maximum)

The purpose of this study is to examine the impact that relationships have in the correctional journey of justice-involved women. Previous relationship literature, based on Sampson and Laub’s social control theory, has found that stability and support in an offender’s life can lead to desistance from crime. 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. 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, are the backbone for 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 increasingly present population. This study uses secondary data to answer the following questions: First, does the officer-offender relationship impact an offender’s recidivism rate. Second, does an offender’s positive relationship with their supervising officer affect their likelihood of completing treatment. Finally, what role does officer authoritarianism have in the offender-officer 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.

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The Future is Female: An Examination of Officer-Client Communication of Risk Using a Sample of Justice-Involved Women

The purpose of this study is to examine the impact that relationships have in the correctional journey of justice-involved women. Previous relationship literature, based on Sampson and Laub’s social control theory, has found that stability and support in an offender’s life can lead to desistance from crime. 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. 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, are the backbone for 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 increasingly present population. This study uses secondary data to answer the following questions: First, does the officer-offender relationship impact an offender’s recidivism rate. Second, does an offender’s positive relationship with their supervising officer affect their likelihood of completing treatment. Finally, what role does officer authoritarianism have in the offender-officer 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.