Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Alicia Suarez

Second Advisor

Karin Wimbley

Third Advisor

Emmitt Riley


Women represent one of the fastest growing populations in the American criminal justice system today, with rates of female incarceration increasing 700% from 1980 to 2014. In a criminal justice system built by and for men, however, women’s narratives often go unheard and their needs unmet, especially in the tenuous period post-incarceration. This paper focuses on women’s experiences of reentry, the period in which women are transitioning back to their communities after incarceration. Specifically, this paper will assess whether current reentry programming is equipped to adequately attend to and advocate for women’s post-carceral needs. I situate women’s needs upon reentry in a larger contextual frame that addresses both their pathways to criminality, as well as their experiences during incarceration, in order to address the complex nature of women’s involvement with the criminal justice system and its impact on the feasibility of their post-carceral success. Following this discussion, I present three analytical case studies of current programs to paint a more qualitative picture of reentry programming for women in the U.S., and I conclude with a brief discussion of the future of reentry programming.


Honor Scholar Thesis

Included in

Sociology Commons