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Comparison of Female and Male Probationers: Characteristics and Case Outcomes

NCJ Number
Women and Criminal Justice Volume: 11 Issue: 4 Dated: 2000 Pages: 65-79
Date Published
15 pages

This study compared the backgrounds and case outcomes of women probationers with male probationers.


To examine the case outcomes of Illinois' probation population, a probation outcome survey was conducted for every adult discharged from probation in the State during a four-week period in 1997. The survey involved 2,438 adult probationers, 482 (20 percent) of them women. After excluding cases with missing data, a sample of 1,834 male probationers and 459 female probationers were included in the study. The study found that female probationers had much lower annual incomes and higher rates of unemployment than their male counterparts. Female probationers were also much more likely than males to have been convicted of drug or property offenses; whereas, a substantial portion of male probationers were placed on probation for driving under the influence of alcohol. Previous studies of probation performance have consistently found that income and employment are inversely related to negative probation outcomes and that probationers convicted of property and drug offenses have higher rates of probation failure. Thus, female probationers had a number of characteristics that increased their risk of probation failure. Other characteristics, however, such as prior convictions, make female probationers less likely to experience negative case outcomes. As a result of this mix of risk factors, few gender differences were found when outcomes were compared only by a probationer's gender. 4 tables and 27 references

Date Published: January 1, 2000