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Motherhood and Desistance: The Influence of Children in Women's Offending


Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12047

Motherhood and Desistance: The Influence of Children in Women's Offending

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Title: Motherhood and Desistance: The Influence of Children in Women's Offending
Author: Kleymann, Erin
Advisor(s): Broidy, Lisa
Committee Member(s): Lyons, Christopher
Velez, Maria
Department: University of New Mexico. Dept. of Sociology
Subject: motherhood
female offending
LC Subject(s): Female offenders--Family relationships
Women prisoners--Family relationships
Recidivism--Social aspects
Custody of children--Social aspects
Mother and child
Degree Level: Masters
Abstract: An increasing number of women are being incarcerated, of which almost 80% are mothers. Many of these women have children who they wish to reconnect with upon release. Desistance research, which has focused on male populations, finds that conventional social bonds increase odds of desistance. However, there are few studies of women’s desistance and it is unclear if social bonds exhibit the same affect for females. Using desistance literature, social control, and strain theories, I examine the Glueck Women’s Reformatory Study data from the 1920’s. I focus on two key questions: Is motherhood important to desistance? And under what conditions does motherhood affect desistance for mothers? Specifically I address how custody of children, the mother-child bond, and financial and social resources affect desistance among mothers. I develop and test a set of hypotheses based on these three conditions to determine the role of children in mother’s lives. Findings indicate that motherhood is important to desistance; mothers are more likely to desist than non-mothers. Furthermore, mothers with regular employment, strong mother-child bonds, and full time custody of children are more likely to desist than mothers without these factors. These findings suggest that mother-child relationships act as a social control for mothers’ behavior but only when the relationship is strong and positive.
Graduation Date: December 2010
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12047

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