Award Date

May 2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Criminal Justice

First Committee Member

Emily Salisbury

Second Committee Member

Emily Troshynski

Third Committee Member

Terance Miethe

Fourth Committee Member

Gillian Pinchevsky

Fifth Committee Member

Mark Leymon

Sixth Committee Member

Lisa Bendixen

Number of Pages

302

Abstract

Since the 1970s, the rate of female incarceration in the United States skyrocketed, with highest imprisonment rates among Black and Latina women. Nonetheless, few studies examined disparities in female imprisonment and the distinct experiences of women of Color within the justice system. To fill this gap in the literature, this dissertation utilized conflict and intersectional perspectives to assess the differential treatment of women in the Oregon justice system. Using a convergent mixed methods design, this dissertation examined disparities in female imprisonment using state-level prison admissions and population data from 1983-2014 in conjunction with qualitative interview and focus group responses among women on community supervision in Northwestern Oregon. Overall, both methods revealed that women of Color, particularly Black women, experienced harsher justice outcomes relative to White women throughout various phases of the Oregon justice system. Quantitative results indicated that Black women faced stark disparities in imprisonment over the past 30 years. Although these disparities lessened since the 1990s, likely due to the enactment of sentencing reforms, Black women were still nearly four times as likely to be imprisoned in comparison to White women as of 2014. Qualitative responses were analyzed to develop major themes demonstrating that racism and privilege encountered in broad society permeate through various phases of the justice system. Respondents described differential suspicion by law enforcement and sentencing outcomes based upon their gendered and racial identities. Women also experienced racial biases within the correctional system in relation to treatment from staff and fellow prisoners as well as the cultural representativeness of programs and services offered. Results from both methods were interpreted jointly in the final chapters, and future directions were provided. Ultimately, this dissertation exemplified the need to consider intersectional contexts in criminal justice research and policies.

Keywords

biases; disparities; intersectional; justice-involvement; race; women

Disciplines

Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Gender and Sexuality | Women's Studies

Language

English

Available for download on Saturday, May 15, 2021


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