The relative autonomy of women offenders' decision making

Mimi Ajzenstadt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article analyses the accounts of incarcerated females in Israel, examining the extent to which they were active, rational agents making choices regarding their criminality. The theoretical framework underlying this analysis views the criminal decision-making process with the agency/structure nexus. It indicates that the women were actively seeking normative means to satisfy their feelings of belonging, to gain economic benefits and feel safe, and to fulfil normative social expectations. They turned to the major social institutions that are considered the agencies for providing the means to realize these desires. Their discovery of the limited opportunities available to them led them to choose to engage in crime, and to select the location, timing and nature of the offence and the victim of the crime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-225
Number of pages25
JournalTheoretical Criminology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Israel
  • agency/structure nexus
  • rational choice
  • women offenders


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