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CJ 367 - Special Topics: Women in Prison


The following guide is intended to provide an overview of resources available in the library and online on the subject of women in the prison system. For further assistance, please take advantage of the reference services available to you in the library. Stop by the Reference Desk in person, online at Ask a Librarian, or consider making an appointment with the Criminal Justice liaison librarian.


Background and Reference

Reference materials can provide basic background information on your topic and help you identify keywords for further searching. Some also contain topical essays that can be excellent introductions to a particular subject. Many reference resources provide bibliographies at the ends of each entry or volume, which will point you to additional books and journal articles worth exploring.

Encyclopedia of American Prisons
     Ref HV9471 .E425

Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice
     Ref HV6017 .E52 2002 (print version)

Encyclopedia of Gender and Society
     See entries for "Prison Culture and Demographics" and "Prison and Parenting".

Encyclopedia of Social Work
     Ref HV35 .S6

Encyclopedia of Women and Gender
     Ref HQ1115 .E43

Prisons and Prison Systems: A Global Encyclopedia
     Ref HV8665 .R67

World Encyclopedia of Police Forces and Correctional Systems
     Ref HV7901 .W63

Please see also 'Selected Websites' below for online statistical reference material, such as Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics and Uniform Crime Reports for the United States. 1945-.


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Geisel Library catalog
To find relevant books, you may want to try both Keyword and Subject searching in the library catalog. Start by doing keyword searching on various aspects of your topic. When you find useful books, click on the Subject Headings in their catalog records to identify additional books on the same topic.

By searching WorldCat, you can identify relevant books owned by other colleges and have them delivered to Geisel Library for your use. The best approach is to perform Subject searches on the same Subject Headings that you discovered in the Geisel Library catalog. You can supplement this with Keyword searching on keywords pertaining to your research topic.

When you identify a relevant book in WorldCat, you can click on the "Request via Interlibrary Loan" link in its WorldCat record. Books requested through WorldCat are usually delivered to Geisel Library in 7-10 days. You will be emailed when your book arrives, and you can check it out for a specified borrowing period.

This library of thousands of e-books spans across all scholarly disciplines. Books can either be opened in QuickView for instant viewing or in the ebrary Reader (a downloadable plug-in), which provides enhanced functionality such as the ability to copy/paste, highlight, or take notes in a particular book.
Access restricted to the Saint Anselm College community.

Below is a sampling of titles that are included in Ebrary:

At Work in the Iron Cage : The Prison As Gendered Organization
Inner Lives : Profiles of African American Women in Prison
Older Women in the Criminal Justice System : Running Out of Time
Women Who Offend
World Apart : Women, Prison, and Life Behind Bars


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Find Journal Articles

CrossSearch  Criminal Justice

  What does this box search?                                  Advanced Search

Search the following databases to locate citations and/or full text of journal articles. In some cases, the database will provide links to the full text of articles. If you see a WebBridge button next to an article of interest, click it to determine whether the journal is available in the Geisel Library or in full text via another electronic database. WebBridge will also help you request articles through Interlibrary Loan if they aren't available through our library.

Core Resources

Criminal Justice Abstracts
Provides abstracts of journals, books, and federal and state government reports in criminal justice and related disciplines. (1968–present)

National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Abstracts Database
Contains summaries of more than 150,000 criminal justice publications.

Additional Journal Resources

Academic Search Premier
A good place to start for general readings. Many are full text. Limiting to peer-reviewed journals is an easy option in this database.

Contemporary Women's Issues
Provides full text access to a variety of English-language sources concerned with women's issues in 190 countries.

LexisNexis Academic - Legal
Find legal news, law reviews, case law, and codes and regulations.

Restorative Justice Database
"Includes citations to academic and practitioner literature from 1970 to the present." The database can be searched or browsed using broad subject areas such as peacemaking criminolgy, and victim's rights.

A search of 'women and prison*' yields some relevant results, some of which are not duplicated in the other databases listed here.
Over 50 million pages of federal and state documents can be searched using this "official U.S. gateway to all government information." After finding citations in other indexes listed on this guide, search here to locate the full-text of government reports.

Westlaw Campus   (Full Text)
Use the Westlaw database to find the text of a court case and also for law review articles pertaining to this topic.

Other Related Databases

Arts & Humanities Citation Index
ATLA Religion Database
CINAHL (Nursing)
ERIC (Education)
Google Scholar
Health Source
New York Times (historical information 1851–2004)
Worldwide Political Science Abstracts


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Selected Websites

Searching the World Wide Web can yield a vast amount of information, but in terms of quality and reliability your results may be uneven at best. The ease and speed with which individuals can publish information on the web, regardless of accuracy or quality, makes it imperative that when doing research on the web you know how to evaluate the information you find.

Amnesty International: "Not part of my sentence": Violations of the Human Rights of Women in Custody
"This report describes violations of the internationally guaranteed human rights of women incarcerated in prisons and jails(2) in the United States of America."

Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) (Alphabetical Listing)
See link for "Prisoners in 2006" for most current statistical information. See also link to World Factbook of Criminal Justice Systems, also from the BJS.

Crime in the United States 2008 (Preliminary Report)
From the FBI. This website is part of the Uniform Crime Reports. Some statistics are based on gender; very current information.

Double Jeopardy: A Report on Training and Educational Programs for New Hampshire's Female Offenders
From the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Women in December 2004.

Recent Trends in New Hampshire's Prison Population
From the NH Center for Public Policy Studies, June 2006.

Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics
Annual compendium of statistics compiled by governmental and private agencies. Many of the statistical breakdowns are by gender.
     Ref HV7245 N37B (print version)

Uniform Crime Reports for the United States. 1945-
Nationwide view of crime compiled monthly by the FBI from statistical reports submitted by state and local law enforcement agencies.
     Ref HV6787 F30 (print version)

Women in the Justice System
News and reports from The Sentencing Project.

Women Prisoners - Statistics
Includes federal imprisonment trends for women and more.

Women's Prison Association
Website of the oldest advocacy group for women committed to helping women with criminal justice histories. Includes reports from the Institute on Women and Criminal Justice.

World Factbook of Criminal Justice Systems
Provides narrative descriptions of the criminal justice systems of 45 countries around the world.

World Female Imprisonment List (PDF)
"Women and girls in penal institutions, including pre-trial detainees/remand prisoners", dated 2006.


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Citing Sources

American Psychological Association (APA) Style Guide
A copy of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is located on the library's Ready Reference shelves (REF BF76.7 .P83 2001). For online guides to APA format, please see the following:

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