Incarcerated women are among the most vulnerable and perhaps the least studied populations in the US. Significant proportions of female inmates are substance users, and many living in unstable housing conditions or being homeless. Female inmates are often at high risk of engaging in sex exchange for drugs or housing needs. While a disproportionate number of incarcerated women have experienced childhood household adversities and maltreatments, the effects of these childhood experiences on psychosocial and behavioral outcomes of this population in later life. We apply a life course perspective to examine these pathways in a sample of incarcerated women in Cook County, Illinois. Findings demonstrated lasting, but differential, effects of household adversities and childhood abuse on subsequent life risks and opportunities among these women.

Author Biography

Seijeoung Kim is an Assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health, Division of Health Policy and Administration.

Timothy P. Johnson is a Professor and Director of the Survey Research Laboratory and Public Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Samir Goswami is Project Director of the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation.

Michael Puisis is Chief Operating Officer of the Cermak Health Services of Cook County Bureau of Health Services.