Criminally Involved Drug-Using Mothers: The Need for System Change

John G. Bogart, Sally J. Stevens, Rebecca J. Hill, Barbara D. Estrada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Most criminally involved drug-using females are mothers and are a disenfranchised population; although, little data are available on the differences between female drug users with children and female drug users without children in their care with regard to income, stability, resources, and other economic and contextual variables. Given the lack of information on criminally involved drug-using women, this study examines differences between drug-using women with children and drug-using women without children in their care with regard to basic demographics, mobility, resources, drug use, and legal problems or involvement. Participants selected for this examination included 154 criminally involved female drug users who had given birth to at least one child and were selected from a larger sample of 214 women who were randomly assigned to participate in a legal session. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to examine the differences and similarities of the two groups. An ethnic-racial disparity was evident when examining the differences of characteristics of women who have children in their care versus those who do not. Overall, data from this study suggest that both groups of women are on the edge in terms of poverty, addiction, and rearrest. These results indicate that proactive measures that address this high-risk group are required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-82
Number of pages18
JournalThe Prison Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • criminal behavior
  • drug use
  • legal issues
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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