Gendered pathways is a research area that emerged within feminist criminology at the end of the 1980s. This paradigm acknowledges the importance of women’s unique experiences that may contribute to their offending behavior. The life histories of women in the criminal justice system are often used to contextualize and understand their initial criminal behavior and recidivism as well as reveal the risk factors that may influence their offending. It proposes that women and men have distinct pathways into the criminal justice system, and for women, the common pathways to offending are based on survival (of abuse and poverty) and substance abuse.

Evidence supporting gendered pathways has largely been developed using qualitative methodologies, such as rich, in-depth interviews with small samples of women in the criminal justice ...

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