Most studies on female persistent offenders are conducted in the US and the UK. In Belgium, research on this topic is very scarce. Hence, a lot of questions on female persistent offenders remain unanswered. Why do these women start offending? Why do they persist in offending? What is their profile like? We can presume that female persistent offenders eventually end up in prison. But, are all women in prison career criminals? The empirically underpinned "paradox of persistence" postulates that most male adult offenders have a history of youth offending. In this PhD study we will investigate whether this applies to women as well.
The restrospective research design focuses on women in prison. Autobiographical interviews are conducted with female prisoners. The women's pathways into crime and the risk factors in these pathways will be inventoried. We will investigate which pathway is covered by female persistent offenders during childhood and adolescence, and which elements shape its contours. Special focus is laid on Youth Court contacts. The Youth Court files of these women are analysed in order to reconstruct their biography from an institutional point of view. The criminal records of the women will be explored too.
By means of the gathered data, the life histories and criminal careers are reconstituted in detail. We will explore whether "typical" pathways of female offending and female persistent offending can be discerned. Special attention is paid to recurrent risk factors and (youth justice and criminal justice) interventions in these pathways.
Our findings will be confronted with the literature on persistent (youth) offenders. Notwithstanding research on this topic is mainly based on male samples, theories on risk factors and criminal careers of persistent (youth) offenders are often considered as valid for females as well. In this study is explored whether these traditional theoretical frameworks can be applied to females.
Effective start/end date1/01/0731/12/10

    Research areas

  • law

    Flemish discipline codes

  • Law and legal studies

ID: 3158246