Document Type

Honors Project - Open Access


Female prison admissions grew 62% between 1990 and 2010, while arrests for females over the same period only increased by 14%. As a larger portion of arrested women have been sent to prison over time, it seems that increased prison admissions over time are not due only to more women committing crimes, but also to more severe punishment for arrested females. Using data on arrests, prison admissions, and county characteristics, I examine factors in the increased arrest rate and imprisonment rate for females and males according to offense type over 1990 to 2010 using panel regressions with county and state-time fixed-effects. The results indicate that female arrests for violent and property crimes increase in counties with a higher percentage of female-headed households with no husband present, and that prison admissions for females are lower in counties with higher median incomes. The presence of a treatment facility in the area does not appear to significantly affect changes in imprisonment when controlling for arrests.



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