Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department


Reader 1

Peter Uvin

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© 2024 Dana M Villasenor


Hollywood has painted a picture of the criminal woman as a sexy, sneaky, and often psychotic female fatale. This is because men run Hollywood. Much like movies, research on why women offend had historically focused on men as their stellar. However, towards the turn of the century and with the disproportionate rise in female incarceration, literature caught up to the fact that women and men do not experience the same socialization, standards, or reality and, therefore, have different reasons for and ways of offending. This research explores those reasons for women in the U.S. and Mexico and paints the picture of women in different environments who are suffering abuse, marginalization, parental stress, and neglect from the state and who are pushed into a life of crime. This research finds that Mexican and U.S. women offend to attain their basic needs and those of their children, that the way they offend depends largely on their socialization and the criminal environment they are in, and how these offenses are reflected in statistics is up to the state’s policy.