Women and Crime
A Reference Handbook
by Judith A. Warner
July 2012, 339pp, 6x9
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-59884-423-8
$75, £58, 66€, A103
eBook Available: 978-1-59884-424-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

How has the women’s movement impacted crime? Are women committing more violent crimes? More white-collar crimes? Have they moved into illegal activities that were previously male preserves? What about current punitive crime-control policies—do they help, or merely create a cycle of imprisonment? These and other questions are explored in this fact-filled volume.

Drawing on government data and interdisciplinary expertise, this timely book seeks to explain why the changing economic and legal status of women has not reduced the gender gap in criminal offending.

Women and Crime: A Reference Handbook examines how women’s patterns of offending have changed over time in America, from the Colonial period to the present. The book sets the stage with a historical overview of women’s criminal activity. Subsequent chapters cover such topics as changes in women’s status and patterns of offending; the impact of childhood abuse on the development of criminality; and how changes in law, the War on Drugs, and other crime policy have, in fact, increased the frequency of women’s imprisonment and arrests. International issues, such as legalization of prostitution, sex trafficking, and women’s involvement in organized crime, including drug cartels, are also explored.

Each chapter examines theory, research, law, policy, and key players in the evolving response to women’s crime patterns. Throughout the work, the author links women’s status, victimization, and offending patterns, and suggests how crime control policy, far from saving women, is increasingly making it impossible for female offenders to live on the outside.


  • Quotations from women offenders that explain their actions and situate them in life-history trajectories associated with criminal behavior
  • Biographies of key theorists and researchers, prominent women offenders, and advocates for gender and justice
  • Uniform Crime Report and Bureau of Justice statistics on girls' and womens' offending relative to men
  • Primary source documents on legislation impacting women's offending and victimization
  • A chronology of women's offending and legislation from the Colonial era to the present
  • A glossary of key criminal justice terms that apply to women offenders
  • An interdisciplinary bibliography of reference works, monographs, journal articles, Internet sites, and streaming/DVD resources
Judith A. Warner, PhD, is professor of sociology and criminal justice at Texas A&M International University, Laredo, TX. Her published works include ABC-CLIO's U.S. Border Security: A Reference Handbook and the two-volume Battleground: Immigration.


"This most recent addition to ABC-CLIO’s Contemporary World Issues series offers a broad survey of the terrain. The series itself is uniformly attractive in terms of an appealing and easy-to-use format. Although any student of 'women and crime' would find some useful information in this volume. . . . Altogether, this reference work is a useful resource on a topic of growing interest and significance."—ARBA, January 1, 2013

"This title will be a solid addition to academic libraries for use by students in criminal justice and women’s studies programs."—Library Journal, November 1, 2012

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


Subject coverage spans six main categories:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Environment
  • Gender and Ethnicity
  • Politics, Law, and Government
  • Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Society
Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that support statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
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