Substance misuse subtypes among women convicted of homicide
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Background: The proportion of women incarcerated is growing at a faster pace than that for men. The reasons for this important increase have been mainly attributed to drug-using lifestyle and drug-related offenses. About half of female inmates have history of substance misuse and one third demonstrate high impulsiveness levels. The objectives of this study were to (a) identify subtypes of alcohol and drug problems and impulsiveness among women convicted of homicide, and (b) examine the association between psychosocial and criminological features and the resulting clusters. Methods: Data come from 158 female inmates serving a sentence for homicide in the Penitentiary of SantAna in São Paulo State, Brazil. Latent class analysis was used to group participants into substance misuse and impulsiveness classes. Results: Two classes were identified: nonproblematic (cluster 1: 54.53%, n = 86) and problematic (cluster 2: 45.57%, n = 72) ones. After controlling for several psychosocial and criminological variables, cluster 2 inmates showed an earlier beginning of criminal activities and a lower educational level than their counterparts. Conclusions: To recognize the necessities of specific groups of female offenders is crucial for the development of an adequate system of health politics and for the decrease of criminal recidivism among those offenders who have shown higher risk. © 2013 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.