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J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 2010 Apr;48(4):38-45. doi: 10.3928/02793695-20100302-02.

Profile of women in a county jail.

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School of Nursing, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA.


The literature about women in prison says little about characteristics of women in local jails. The goal of this study was to better understand the demographics and characteristics of these women to develop responsive programming. A cross-sectional survey of 346 women in an urban jail was conducted. Descriptive statistics were generated, and a logistic regression analysis was performed to examine contributors to multiple arrests. Of the 346 women surveyed, 65.3% were incarcerated for minor charges and 58.9% had been incarcerated four or more times. Of those with children, the majority had children younger than 18, and nearly 30% had children younger than 5. Partner abuse and involvement in the juvenile justice system were significantly related to multiple arrests. These findings indicated that many women in jail are caught in a cycle of multiple arrests and violence, with many of their children likewise involved.

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