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Med Sci Law. 1990 Apr;30(2):165-74.

Correlates of crime among women offenders.

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Department of Forensic Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London.


In 1967, Professor Trevor Gibbens interviewed 245 women admitted to Holloway Prison in London. The criminal records of these women to the end of 1977 were examined, at which time the mean age of the group was 39.6. Data from these records were correlated with the information obtained by interview in 1967. Alcohol abuse (but not drug taking) was associated with both seriousness and frequency of offending, as was self-reported depression outside of prison. Neither variable can be viewed as being independent of the criminal record data but a disproportionate number of women who were in the highest crime subgroup reported unhappy and disrupted early home circumstances and this variable also had predictive power in relation to those first convicted in 1967. However, though statistically associated with the measure of criminality used in the study, no variable was able to account for more than a small part of the relevant variance. The most marked feature of the study was the heterogeneity of this highly selected population.

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