The effect of prisonization on female criminality
Prisonization theory asserts that inmates who internalize the attitudes and behaviors of a criminal lifestyle are most likely to continue their criminal careers and thus less likely to desist from crime. Unfortunately, virtually all prior studies of prisonization have used male samples and ignored female inmates. Using official data from 174 female inmates in Arizona, the current study examined predictors of 10 forms of institutional misconduct. Net the effects of demographic, social history, criminal career, and other risk factors, women who had served prior prison terms were significantly likely to commit all forms of misconduct. The effect of prior prison experience was separate from other measures of criminal career/criminal propensity, which suggests that recurrently going to prison exerts a unique and powerful effect on inmate behavior. Implications for prisonization research are provided.