Date of Conferral







Sandra Caramela-Miller


The goal of many female offenders when released from prison is reunification with their children. However, resumption of motherhood is a gendered challenge that may increase the risk of recidivism. The purpose of this research was to investigate whether resuming custody of minor children would increase the risk of recidivism or support and maintain desistence. This research is grounded in feminist theory, identity theory, and self-control theory with a quasi-experimental design. The key research question, whether motherhood increased the risk of recidivism, was investigated using a researcher-generated, 18-question research questionnaire. Additionally, the Dispositional Self-Control (DSC) scale consisted of 17 questions to investigate the impulsive behaviors of the participants. Ninety-three participants were chosen for the research and divided into two groups: mothers and nonmothers. A 2x2 chi-square analysis was used to examine the answers from the 18-question survey. Results revealed that motherhood had no influence on the housing, employment, substance abuse, mental illness, and victimization that have been known to influence recidivism among female offenders. The DSC scale also displayed no significant difference between mothers and nonmothers for risk of recidivism. Both mothers and nonmothers had previously recidivated multiple times. Thus, recommendations include improved community resources to assist with negotiating reentry into the community. Positive social change begins with the improving substance use intervention, mental health treatment, improved housing, and employment, which benefits the community, government, and ex-offenders.