Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Criminal Justice

First Committee Member

Gillian Pinchevsky

Second Committee Member

Emily Salisbury

Third Committee Member

William Sousa

Fourth Committee Member

An-Pyng Sun

Fifth Committee Member

Lisa Bendixen

Number of Pages



Women who are involved in the criminal justice system have unique pathways to criminality. Prevailing themes of dysfunctional and traumatic relationships, addiction, mental illness, poverty, and having limited human and social capital dominate the women’s pathways perspective. A large body of existing research focuses on how these unique risk factors require unique treatment options for women while they are incarcerated in jail or prison settings. Entering prison can be an overwhelming experience and prison is an environment that has a high potential for conflict and violence. In order to be safe in prison it requires that women both feel protected from harm, threats, and danger, as well as have their needs met. A majority of practices and procedures in prison create safe spaces through protection, and less emphasis on having needs met. While many basic needs are provided for in prison, and some even say that prison is a safer environment than their life on the streets, women still have unmet needs that could compromise safety in the facility. This study expands upon previous work by assessing safety for women overall, as well as assessing how safety needs may differ by age, race, and length of time a woman has been in prison. While the findings of this dissertation support many findings from prior research regarding what needs women have and how women meet their needs while incarcerated, there are few unique discoveries. More research in this field is needed and suggestions on how to expand from this study are noted. Overall, safety inside prisons is an essential component to help people reform and recover from their pasts and prepare for a productive life. Meeting needs, even basic ones, is where facilities can start to increase safety for staff and clients alike.


Corrections; Needs in Prison; Safety in Prison; Substance Abuse Treatment in Prison; Women in Prison


Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice

File Format


File Size

2200 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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