Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis


Social Work

Committee Member

Betty Brown-Chappell, PhD

Committee Member

Yvette Colon


In this paper, seven counties were investigated in Northern Michigan (Otsego, Cheboygan, Emmet, Alpena, Charlevoix, Mackinaw, and Sault St. Marie and compared to Washtenaw County. What was specifically investigated and compared was the criminal rulings that were given to women who have committed a criminal sexual conduct crime. They were compared by their location, race, and formal educational level to see if this had any influence on their court rulings.

The research method used is convenient sampling, of court rulings in two different areas of Michigan. To make the comparison, twenty five women that are on the Michigan State Sex Offenders Registry were randomly picked from both areas and compared. For confidentiality purposes, their names and any other identifying information was not disclosed in this paper.

From the research the writer conducted, she found that seventeen out of the twenty five women in Northern Michigan only got probation and court costs while all of women in Washtenaw County got a minimum of two years in prison but one. All but one person in the Northern Michigan sample had an associate degree; the remaining one had a high school diploma. In the Washtenaw County sample, only three women had an associate degree. Five of them had a high school diploma and the other seventeen had no educational degree.

The majority of the Washtenaw County women in prison, minority women in prison, and their families, are mostly impoverished. In many instances, the families can't afford to come visit their incarcerated loved one or put money in their accounts. With this lack of support, the women have a harder time dealing with the stress of incarceration. The minority women and Washtenaw County women that lack this support, are more likely to violate their parole stipulations and go back to prison. On the other hand, the majority of Caucasian women and the women from the Northern Michigan Counties have a stronger family support system because their families can afford to visit and send money. The families also are able to help the women out more when they parole with areas such as housing, food, and other basic needs, causing lower violation rates. The reason for this is because they are not living impoverished and have networks to help them. These networks include securing a job, housing, and social support resources.


Posted 04/09/2013

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