Gendered Pathways to Prison in Thailand for Drug Offending? Exploring Women’s and Men’s Narratives of Offending and Criminalization

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DOI: 10.1177/0091450918818174
In criminology, there is a growing body of research exploring pathways into prison. However, few researchers have concerned themselves with qualitative gender-comparative studies of women’s and men’s journeys to offending and criminalization. Further, little is known about trajectories into non-Western prison systems. In this article, life course and feminist pathways perspectives are drawn on to describe, examine, and compare women’s and men’s pathways to prison for drug offending in Thailand. Overall, findings point to both similarities and divergences in experiences by gender. Four common themes or pathways to prison emerged for both women and men: (1) adverse childhood experiences, (2) peer-group association, (3) economic motivation, and (4) male deception and exploitation. However, gendered variance was found within these common pathways.
Gendered Pathways to Prison
in Thailand for Drug Offending?
Exploring Women’s and Men’s
Narratives of Offending
and Criminalization
Samantha Jeffries
, Chontit Chuenurah
, and Rebecca Wallis
In criminology, there is a growing body of research exploring pathways into prison. However, few
researchers have concerned themselves with qualitative gender-comparative studies of women’s and
men’s journeys to offending and criminalization. Further, little is known about trajectories into non-
Western prison systems. In this article, life course and feminist pathways perspectives are drawn on to
describe, examine, and compare women’s and men’s pathways to prison for drug offending in Thailand.
Overall, findings point to both similarities and divergences in experiences by gender. Four common
themes or pathways to prison emerged for both women and men: (1) adverse childhood experiences,
(2) peer-group association, (3) economic motivation, and (4) male deception and exploitation.
However, gendered variance was found within these common pathways.
gender, drug offending, prison, pathways, Thailand, life histories
Thailand imprisons more of its citizens than any other country in South East Asia. It has the highest
female incarceration rate in the region, and there has been substantial growth in prisoner numbers since
the 1990s (Jeffries & Chuenurah, 2016). This increase in Thailand’s prison population has been
predominantly driven by changes in drug law, policy, and criminal justice practice. The Thai govern-
ment began taking a punitive approach to illicit drugs in the early 1990s. This culminated in an official
School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University, Mount Gravatt, Queensland,
Thailand Institute of Justice, Bangkok, Thailand
TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia
Received April 18, 2018. Accepted for publication November 15, 2018.
Corresponding Author:
Samantha Jeffries, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University, Mount Gravatt
Campus, 176 Messines Ridge Road, Mount Gravatt, Queensland 4122, Australia.
Contemporary Drug Problems
ªThe Author(s) 2018
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/0091450918818174
war on drugs being declared by the Shinawatra government in February 2003. At this time, the
government was particularly concerned about methamphetamine-related harm among young people,
deeming it to be a threat to national security. The official objective of the ensuing war on drugs was to
reduce both use and availability. The chosen method was strict law enforcement and harsh punishment
alongside the provision of drug treatment, frequently mandated (Junlakan, Boriboonthana, & Sang-
khanate, 2013, p. 317; Roberts, Trace, & Klein, 2004). Drug offenders of “whatever nature” were
“indiscriminately imprisoned,” and over a 3-month period in early 2003, the drug war escalated with
the extrajudicial killings of over 2,000 suspected drug dealers and traffickers (Cohen, 2014, p. 777;
Junlakan et al., 2013, p. 317).
Unsurprisingly, given this hard-line approach to illicit drugs (particularly methamphetamine), Thai-
land’s prison population has risen steeply since the early 1990s, and drug offenders are significantly
overrepresented in Thailand’s correctional facilities. Further, punitive war on drug policies have
disproportionately impacted women. This is evidenced by the fact that, compared to men, drug
offenders constitute a higher percentage of the female prison population (Havanon, Jeradechakul,
Wathanotai, Paungsawad, & Sintunava, 2012; Havanon, Jeradechakul, Wathanotai, Ratanarojsakul,
& Sankatiprapa, 2012; Jeffries, 2014; Jeffries & Chuenurah, 2016). For example, Jeffries and Chue-
nurah’s (2016, p. 96) study of imprisonment trends in Thailand from 2003 to 2013 found that drug
offending was the most substantial driver behind prison population changes and “in every year drug
offenders constituted the largest proportion of sentenced prisoners regardless of sex. However, com-
pared to men, far higher proportions of the female sentenced prison population were incarcerated for a
drug offence over the decade (72.1%–89.5%cf. 45.4%–65.4%).”
In short, many women and men are imprisoned in Thailand for drug offences, but little is known
about the features that characterize their pathways to prison. The research reported in this article
applies life course and feminist pathways perspectives to describe and examine Thai women and
men’s pathways to prison for drug offending. The research examined the narratives that emerged from
in-depth qualitative life history interviews with 34 women and men (18 women and 16 men) impri-
soned in Thailand. Particular attention was focused on describing the central factors characterizing the
different pathways that emerged from the analysis of these interviews and in exploring commonalities
and differences in the ways that women and men reported their life experiences. The research con-
tributes to a more nuanced understanding of the strengths and vulnerabilities of the women and men
who make up this cohort of the Thai prison population and draws attention to the importance of gender
in shaping offending and criminalization experiences.
Life Course Perspectives in Criminology
Within criminology, life course research has drawn attention to the ways that “criminal careers” are
shaped by the presence or absence of various key factors and mechanisms that operate within indi-
vidual lives (Laub & Sampson, 2003; Sampson & Laub, 1993). These factors can be both individual
and contextual, and they operate in interactive and accumulative ways to entrench (or disrupt) an
individual’s offending trajectory or life pathway. Accordingly, the identification and description of
key factors operating to shape different life trajectories is a central focus of life course criminological
research. Mapping the existence of factors is not a sufficient exploration of the development of life
pathways, however, as it fails to explain how these factors work to produce life outcomes. There is an
additional need to examine the processes or mechanisms at play that operationalize the factors to
produce particular kinds of life experiences and outcomes (Carbone-Lopez & Miller, 2012; Paternoster
& Bushway, 2009; Sampson & Laub, 1993). In particular, this draws attention to the complex inter-
actions that take place between a person and their various social contexts and experiences and to the
meanings that they ascribe to these interactions and experiences (Giordano, Cernkovich, & Rudolph,
2002; Maruna, 2001).
2Contemporary Drug Problems XX(X)
Prior Research on Male and Female Pathways to Prison
Life course perspectives have been enriched by feminist pathways research. A feminist pathways
approach adopts a “whole of life” methodology, which frequently draws on life history interviews
to map the experiences and circumstances that shape the entry of women (and to a lesser degree men)
into the criminal justice system (Bloom, Owen, & Covington, 2004, p. 37; Wattanaporn & Holtfreter,
2014). Feminist pathways research has demonstrated the centrality of gender as an organizing mechan-
ism driving differential life course experiences, shaping even factors that are otherwise common to
both women and men. This was first highlighted by the seminal work of Daly (1994), which spurred an
ongoing interest among Western feminist criminologists in exploring women’s pathways to offending
and criminalization.
Western feminist pathways scholars maintain that women’s offending is largely survival based
and bound to an assemblage of interrelated and interconnected factors. These include extensive
childhood and adulthood victimization, mental ill-health (including alcohol and/or other drug use
and harm), economic marginalization, male influence/control, and familial caretaking responsibil-
ities (Bradley & Davino, 2002; Daly, 1994; Lynch, DeHart, Belknap, & Green, 2012; Owen, Wells,
& Pollock, 2017, pp. 24–36; Salisbury & Van Voorhis, 2009; Simpson, Yahner, & Dugan, 2008;
Stalans, 2009; White, 2007).
Although men’s pathways to prison are characterized by many of these same factors, women
experience these factors differently, and perhaps more acutely, than men (Halsey, 2008; Owen
et al., 2017, pp. 24–36; Stalans, 2009). For example, while victimization and associated trauma are
linked to both female and male pathways to prison, women tend to be victimized in multiple ways
(e.g., child abuse and domestic violence) and more frequently (DeHart, 2008; Lynch et al., 2012; Owen
et al., 2017, pp. 24–36; Stalans, 2009). As a result, victimization appears to be an experience that
carries more weight in shaping women’s pathways to prison. Similarly, although female and male
prisoners often recount experiences of victimization, some forms of victimization differ. For women,
victimization through domestically violent or controlling intimate relationships is particularly impli-
cated as a gendered factor in their journeys to imprisonment (Stalans, 2009).
In addition, gendered norms result in a greater emphasis on social bonding and relationship building
for women. Thus, bonds with family and intimate partners are more likely related to women’s offend-
ing than men’s. These bonds may be heightened in non-Western societal contexts, particularly in
matrifocal kinship systems
like Thailand where particular cultural requirements are placed on women
to meet familial (and oftentimes community) needs. In Thailand, to sustain specific familial obliga-
tions, matrifocality requires women to undertake “daughter duty.” Dutiful daughters take care of
parents and other natal
family members (e.g., siblings, grandparents, extended kin) including the
provision of financial support. In some regions of Thailand, daughter duties extend beyond families to
the care of whole communities (e.g., requiring donations for festive or religious events; Angeles &
Sunata, 2009, p. 554). As noted by Angeles and Sunata (2009, p. 556), “daughter duty is demanded as
an obligatory function necessary for family, kin, and community reproduction, and it is demanding in
terms of size and frequency of material exchanges and spiralling expectations.” Many aspects of
women’s pathways to offending and criminalization can be better understood through the lens of
relationships in a way that differs from male pathways.
Daly’s (1994) formative research was the first attempt made by Western feminist scholars to
compare women and men’s pathways into the criminal justice system. Using court files, Daly
(1994, pp. 46–58) examined convicted offenders’ life stories (40 women, 40 men) from which she
constructed a typology of pathways. The following five types were identified for women:
1. Harmed and harming women (n¼15). All these women had suffered neglect, physical, and/or
sexual abuse as children. By adolescence, they were identified as troublesome youth who used
Jeffries et al. 3
illicit drugs. For these women, the harm experienced growing up manifested itself in harming
others and most were eventually convicted for committing offences of interpersonal violence.
2. Street women (n¼10). These women were either pushed out or ran away from abusive homes
or were drawn to the excitement of life on the street. Here, they became involved in petty
hustles, drug use, and criminal activities such as sex work, theft, and drug dealing in order to
support their drug use and for survival more generally. Their criminal histories were lengthy,
with their offending behaviors related to their life on the streets.
3. Battered women (n¼5). Battered women had generally first experienced abuse later in life
(rather than as children), and this abuse occurred within their relationships with intimate
partners. All of these women were in relationships with domestically violent men, and their
offending was directly related to these relationships.
4. Drug-connected women (n¼6). These women were engaged in drug offending that was
attributed to the men (boyfriends, husbands, family members) in their lives.
5. Other (n¼4). None of these women appeared to have problems with substance use (or other
mental ill-health). They had not experienced family violence (either in childhood or in adult-
hood) nor had they lived on the street, and they had no previous arrest or conviction history.
Criminality for this group was related to immediate economic circumstance or the desire for
financial gain. Subsequent feminist scholars have labeled this group economically motivated
(Simpson et al., 2008, pp. 85 and 86; Wattanaporn & Holtfreter, 2014, pp. 3 and 4).
The women’s pathways identified by Daly (1994, pp. 62–81) were not a good fit for the men in her
sample. Although she found gender overlap in some categories (i.e., “harmed and harming” men,
“drug-connected” men, and “street” men), an additional male-only pathway—coined the “costs and
excesses of masculinity”—accounted for 35%(n¼14) of the men (Daly, 1994, p. 68). Men on this
pathway were subclassified as (1) explosively violent men (who generally used violence to control and
dominate others), (2) bad luck men (who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, used by others,
reacting to harassing men), and (3) masculine gaming men (who engaged in crime as a form of
recreation and means to demonstrate masculine prowess).
Daly’s (1994) framework has been reassessed and further developed by a number of Western
researchers. This scholarship has tended to focus solely on women and has generally supported core
aspects of Daly’s (1994) work. For example, Simpson, Yahner, and Dugan (2008) used quantitative
factor analyses and reported factors representing Daly’s (1994) prison pathways including “street,”
“harmed and harming,” “drug-connected,” and “battered” women (also see Salisbury & Van Voorhis,
2009). More recently, using a qualitative methodology (including open-ended interviews with 60 impri-
soned women), DeHart (2018) identified prison pathways paralleling those proposed by Daly (1994).
In sum, more recent Western research (both quantitative and qualitative) is supportive of Daly’s
original findings. However, since her work, only one gender-comparative pathways study has been
undertaken. Using a quantitative methodology, Jones et al. (2014) explored juvenile trajectories into
crime, arguing that a “gendered pathway theme emerged exclusively for females.” This pathway
aligned with Daly’s pathway of “harmed and harming” women. A second trajectory, “traditional
anti-social,” was also identified. This pathway loosely equated to Daly’s “street pathway” and included
association with antisocial peers, school suspensions, substance use, manifestations of violence, inad-
equate parental supervision, antisocial attitudes, impulsivity, neglect, and prior involvement with the
criminal justice system. Close to 48%of the young women in this research were categorized under the
“gendered pathway theme” while 52%were classified as “traditional anti-social.” In comparison,
nearly 60%of males were classified as “traditional anti-social.” A further 27%of males were placed
on a “mixed pathway” encompassing factors from both the “gendered” and “traditional anti-social”
theme (Jones et al., 2014, p. 127). Sixteen percent were deemed unclassifiable.
Thus, like Daly
(1994), both similarities and differences between females and males were identified.
4Contemporary Drug Problems XX(X)
In non-Western contexts, gender-comparative pathways research has never been conducted. How-
ever, there are a growing number of studies on women’s pathways to prison (Artz, Hoffman-Wanderer,
& Moult, 2012; Berko, Erez, & Globokar, 2010; Cherukuri, Britton, & Subramaniam, 2009; Havanon,
Jeradechakul, Wathanotai, Paungsawad, et al., 2012; Havanon, Jeradechakul, Wathanotai, Ratanar-
ojsakul, et al., 2012; Khalid & Khan, 2013; Kim, Gerber, & Kim, 2007; Maghsoudi et al., 2017;
Shechory, Perry, & Addad, 2011; Shen, 2015). As in the Western literature, histories of victimization,
women’s relationships with men, economic marginalization, and familial economic provisioning
present as crucial pathways to women’s imprisonment. These factors are all set within specific socio-
cultural gendered frameworks that impact differently on women and men. In addition, the non-Western
research consistently highlights other factors operating within women’s pathways to prison, including
limited access to justice, and comparatively unjust and/or corrupted criminal justice processes. The
influence of “deviant”
peer groups also comes to the foreground more frequently (Cherukuri et al.,
2009; Havanon, Jeradechakul, Wathanotai, Ratanarojsakul, et al., 2012). These commonalities and
differences for women across societies warrant further description and examination, especially as
research in non-Western contexts remains relatively embryonic. In addition, there is a need for
nuanced gender-comparative studies to explore the extent to which factors and experiences are com-
mon for women and men.
Pathways to Prison by Offense Type: Drug Offending
The current research is concerned with describing and examining women’s and men’s
pathways to
prison for drug offenses in Thailand. It is common practice within life course and feminist pathways
scholarship (particularly in the West) to amalgamate offenders’ life histories and map pathways for
cohorts of women convicted of various types of offenses. This can be problematic as it can mask the
way that trajectories into prison might vary by offense. This is demonstrated above and is further
illustrated below in our overview of three non-Western studies (including from Thailand). These
studies investigated women’s pathways to prison for different crimes but, relevant to the current
research, included a focus on drug offending.
Shechory, Perry, and Addad (2011) examined differences in pathways to prison in Israel for 60
women convicted of drugs, violence, and fraud-related crimes, with results showing variance in prison
trajectories by offense. Compared to those women serving time for fraud and violent crimes, drug
offenders had more troubled lives. Exposure to childhood abuse, drug use, and family conflict were
more commonly reflected in their pathways, as was association with deviant peer groups and engage-
ment in prior deviant and/or criminal activity.
Havanon, Jeradechakul, Wathanotai, Ratanarojsakul, and Sankatiprapa (2012) explored the life
stories of various groups of female inmates sentenced in Thailand’s prisons. These included “talks”
and in-depth interviews with 25 female inmates who (1) had delivered and cared for children inside
the prison; (2) were very young when entering the prison; (3) were able to start new lives within the
prison; (4) while separated from their families, were able to maintain bonds with them; and (5) were
physically and mentally abused by their male partners and had killed or attempted to kill them.
Although the precise research methodology used was unclear, results suggested that while domestic
violence victimization may be a precursor for women killing or attempting to kill their male partners,
drug and property offending was primarily motivated by the desire for financial gain. In some cases,
women reported finding themselves in prison for drug offending as a result of unwittingly associat-
ing with others who were actively engaged in this type of offending or of being deceived into
committing the offense. Once women entered the criminal justice system, corrupt, unjust, and
misguided police practices, alongside a lack of competent legal representation in court, were key
drivers behind the incarceration.
Jeffries et al. 5
Havanon, Jeradechakul, Wathanotai, Paungsawad, and Sintunava’s (2012) subsequent in-depth
analysis of 10 female drug offenders’ life stories suggested that their criminality was at the lower end
of the seriousness scale and occurred within contexts beyond women’s control. Like Daly’s (1994)
“drug connected” women, those interviewed described being embroiled in the criminal justice system
as a result of guilt by association or via arrest as co-conspirators during police “sting” operations that
were primarily targeted at their male partners. This suggests that the action of a romantic partner,
coupled with injustice in legal process, may account for the imprisonment of some women for drug
offenses in the Thai context. However, Havanon, Jeradechakul, Wathanotai, Ratanarojsakul, et al.’s
(2012) case study sample was purposefully selected in order to explore the injustice of the criminal
justice system for women, and its broader application is therefore limited. Further, there were no
comparative analyses of male drug offenders.
Given the relative dearth of methodologically robust research examining pathways to imprisonment
for drug offenses in Thailand, and the absence of gender-comparative studies, the current research
examines the narratives that emerged from in-depth qualitative interviews with women and men in
Thai prisons. The aim was to identify pathways to imprisonment for drug offending. Common factors
that characterize different pathways to prison are drawn out and described. In addition, the research
explores how these factors are experienced differently (and sometimes similarly) by women and men.
This provides a preliminary account of different pathways to prison for drug offending in Thailand and
highlights how gender shapes the differential experience of common factors.
Data and Method
Narrative analysis of life history interviews was conducted in order to identify common pathways
among the 34 participants in the research. Narratives are social products constructed in the context of
specific social, historical, and cultural locations; they are interpretive devices through which people
represent themselves and their social realities to others (Lynch et al., 2012). A narrative analysis
allowed us to examine each person’s “story” to understand two key things. First, we examined the
key features (e.g., people, places, events) that made up the “plot” of the narrative. Second, we con-
centrated on understanding how the participant constructed the story to identify key points of emphasis
and dominant themes. This reflects both a content and holistic approach to narrative analysis that
provides some insight into both the objective features or “realities” of an individual’s life, as well as
the important subjective process of meaning making that plays an important role in shaping individual
life pathways (Beal, 2013; Lieblich, Tuval-Mashiach, & Zilber, 1998). From this, it was possible to
examine common factors (such as people or events) that emerged in different stories, as well as to
explore the way that participants experienced these factors.
Our open-ended interview schedule was designed to elicit participants’ responses to broad discus-
sion topics. This approach provided interviewees with the opportunity to define and describe signif-
icant events in their lives and also enabled analysis of the links individuals made between their varied
life experiences, offending, and criminalization. The discussion topics were as follows:
1. Childhood familial relationships, friendships, victimization, and other experiences;
2. Adulthood familial relationships, friendships, victimization, other experiences;
3. Education, employment, and economic circumstances;
4. Histories of prior deviant behavior and offending;
5. Histories of physical and mental ill-health including substance use;
6. Circumstances surrounding their offending; and
7. Interactions with and experiences of the criminal justice system.
6Contemporary Drug Problems XX(X)
In-depth interviews were carried out with a total of 34 prisoners (18 women and 16 men). All
participants had been convicted of a drug offense.
The fieldwork was undertaken in eight prisons in four regions of Thailand: Central, North Eastern,
Northern, and Southern. These prisons had the highest prison populations in the country. Prison staff
informed prisoners sentenced for a drug offense about the research and invited them to participate in
the study. To ensure participants had received the relevant information and were providing informed
consent, we again explained the aim of the study and stressed the confidential, anonymous, and
voluntary nature of participation at the beginning of each interview. We then obtained the participant’s
verbal consent to participate. Each participant was assigned a pseudonym, and minor life details were
changed or masked in order to further protect anonymity. Any such changes were unrelated to the
research study’s purpose or findings. The interviews lasted between 1 and 2 hours, were conducted in
Thai (by the second author), verbally translated into English (by the second author for the first author),
audio-recorded, and transcribed verbatim in the translated English.
The prisoners’ narratives were
then synthesized into distinct pathways to prison by identifying common factors and/or experiences
that emerged across different transcripts. The narratives that sat within each pathway type were then
further analyzed to explore commonalities and differences that emerged in the ways that participants
described these factors and experiences. Particular attention was paid to comparing and contrasting
narratives according to gender, to uncover any similarities and differences for women and men.
The following section describes the findings from the study, commencing with an overview of key
characteristics of the research participants, followed by an account of the four pathways that emerged
from the analysis. The pathways were shared by women and men, but there were some important
differences that emerged between women and men’s experiences within these pathways.
The Sample
Demographic Profiles
The majority of participants were aged from 20 to 39 years of age. Half the men and nearly one third of
the women had never attended secondary school,
and most were Buddhist. Prior to being incarcerated,
half the women supported themselves financially by working for a family business or in the sex
industry, and close to one-third sold drugs. In contrast, the majority of men sold drugs, and no men
worked in family businesses or in the sex industry. Men commonly worked in industries where women
did not feature (see Table 1).
Childhood Experiences
Adversity in childhood was a common experience for both women and men. However, and in contrast
to the men, a number of women reported becoming parents during adolescence and also described
being involved in romantic relationships with male partners who engaged in deviant behavior. None of
the men experienced teenage parenthood, and only one man reported romantic involvement with
someone engaged in deviant behavior (see Table 2).
Adulthood Experiences
During adulthood, women were more likely than men to be parents, to experience infidelity in their
romantic relationships, and to be abandoned by an intimate partner. While deviant peer-group associa-
tions were common regardless of gender, unlike the men, most women were romantically involved
with a deviant intimate partner at some point. Four women and no men reported being the victim of
domestic violence, and one woman reported being the victim of rape by a stranger (see Table 3).
Jeffries et al. 7
Substance Use and Criminal Histories
Over half the women and three quarters of the men described themselves as being “addicted to” illicit
drugs, a problem that developed during adolescence for approximately half the participants. Women
and men were most likely to be introduced to and/or used substances in association with friends and/or
Table 1. Participant’s Age, Education, Religion, and Source of Income.
Participant’s Age, Education, Religion, and Source of Income
Women Men
N¼18 % N¼16 %
Under 20 years 1 6 0 0
20–29 years 5 28 4 25
30–39 years 9 50 7 44
40–49 years 3 17 4 25
50 years and over 0 0 1 6
Education level
Never attended secondary school 5 28 8 50
Completed 8–10 years of secondary education 6 33 1 6
Completed upper secondary education 7 39 4 25
University degree 0 0 3 19
Buddhist 13 72 16 100
Christian 2 11 0 0
Muslim 3 17 0 0
Primary means of financial support prior to incarceration
Selling goods on “the street” 1 6 2 13
General laborer or factory work 1 6 1 6
Supported by husband/wife or other family member 2 11 0 0
Works in family business 5 28 0 0
Sex industry
422 0 0
Night club industry (DJ’s and bouncers) 0 0 2 13
Driver 0 0 4 25
Professional sports person 0 0 2 13
Lawyer 0 0 1 6
Drug dealing 5 29 13 81
Includes sex work and other occupations where sexual objectification is used to generate an income.
Table 2. Childhood Experiences.
Childhood Experiences
Women Men
N¼18 % N ¼16 %
Grew up in a low-income family 5 28 8 50
Separated from parents (due to parental death, divorce, or abandonment) 8 44 8 50
Worked from a young age (i.e., under 18 years) out of financial necessity 4 22 8 50
Became a parent 8 44 0 0
Victim of childhood abuse and/or neglect 8 44 6 38
Exposed to illicit drugs and or crime in the community 7 39 10 63
Parental substance use and/or other deviant behavior 2 11 5 31
Deviant peer-group associations (friends and/or siblings) 12 67 10 63
Deviant intimate partner 6 33 1 6
8Contemporary Drug Problems XX(X)
older siblings, but women’s drug use occurred more frequently within intimate relationship contexts.
Compared to women, men’s criminal histories were slightly more extensive (see Table 4).
Offense and Sentence Length
All participants were sentenced to a term of imprisonment for either drug distribution or being in
possession of drugs for distribution. Nearly all offenses involved methamphetamine, which is a
Category 1 drug under Thai law.
In addition to the offense for which they were incarcerated, many
women and men described their involvement in drug offending more broadly.
On the basis of these
reports, men more commonly positioned themselves as being user-dealers compared to women (i.e.,
dealing drugs to support self-identified “addictions”). Women were slightly more likely to self-identify
as being drug users only and were more commonly imprisoned for distribution offenses because of the
operation of deeming provisions
rather than because they were actually engaged in drug-dealing
activities. Two women and one man were in prison as a result of assumptions about complicity that
made them guilty by association. Sentenced prison terms ranged from less than 3 years through to the
death sentence (see Table 5).
Criminal Justice System Experiences
Experiences of police misconduct were not uncommon but featured more frequently in the men’s
stories. Women were slightly less likely than men to have legal representation during court
Table 3. Adulthood Experiences.
Adulthood Experiences
Women Men
N¼18 % N¼16 %
Has children 15 83 6 38
Victim of domestic violence 4 22 0 0
Victim of sexual assault (stranger) 1 6 0 0
Partner Infidelity 5 28 1 6
Spousal abandonment 4 22 1 6
Deviant peer-group association (friends and/or siblings) 15 83 13 81
Deviant intimate partner 13 72 3 19
Table 4. Substance Use and Criminal Histories.
Substance Use and Criminal Histories
Women Men
N¼18 % N¼16 %
Substance use
“Addicted” to illicit drugs 10 55 12 75
Started using illicit drugs during adolescence (under 18 years) 7 39 8 50
Developed and/or continued to use illicit drugs in association with an
intimate partner
950 319
Started and/or continued to use illicit drug in association with friends
and/or older siblings
11 61 10 63
Criminal history
Prior arrests 6 33 9 56
Served prior terms of imprisonment 5 28 6 38
Jeffries et al. 9
proceedings. A larger number of women stated that they felt fairly treated by the criminal justice
system (see Table 6).
Narrative Analysis
The narrative analyses presented here focus on the life circumstances, experiences, and central
mechanisms that constituted participants’ differing pathways to prison. Four pathways emerged for
Table 5. Offense and Sentence Length.
Offense and Sentence Length
Women Men
N¼18 % N¼16 %
Sentenced offense
Drug possession for distribution 8 44 9 56
Drug distribution 10 56 7 44
Offense profile
User only 3 22 0 6
User-dealer 7 33 9 50
Dealer only 6 33 5 38
Associated with a drug user and/or dealer 2 11 2 6
Drug types
17 94 15 94
Marijuana 1 6 0 0
Ecstasy 0 0 1 6
Benzodiazepines 0 0 1 6
Ketamine 0 0 1
Sentence length
Less than 3 years 1 6 1 6
3 to < 5 years 4 22 4 25
5–7 years 6 33 4 25
8–12 years 2 11 4 25
Over 25 years (including death sentence) 5 28 3 19
Includes “Yabba” (tablets containing a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine) and crystalline methamphetamine
Adds up to more than n¼16, as one participant was found in possession of multiple drug types.
Table 6. Criminal Justice System Experiences.
Criminal Justice System Experiences
Women Men
N¼18 % N¼16 %
Police misconduct
Asked for bribe money 1 6 2 12
Took and did not return personal belongings 1 6 1 6
Verbally abusive and/or threatening 2 11 4 25
Physically abusive 1 6 6 37
Threatened and/or intimidated into signing confession documents 2 11 3 19
Tricked into signing confession documents 1 6 0 0
Had legal representation 7 39 9 56
Fairness of treatment
Felt they were treated fairly by the police 12 67 8 50
Felt they were treated fairly by the courts 15 83 9 56
10 Contemporary Drug Problems XX(X)
both women and men: (1) adverse childhood experiences,(2)peer-group association,(3)economic
motivation, and (4) male deception and exploitation (see Table 7). The key features and common
themes arising within each of these pathways are described in detail, and the differences in experiences
across gender are highlighted.
Adverse Childhood Experiences
Adverse childhood experiences are stressful or traumatic events that include but are not limited to
abuse and neglect. They may also incorporate household dysfunction such as living with domestic
violence, growing up with substance using family members, parental separation, death of primary
caregiver, parental abandonment, and leaving home at a young age to take on adult responsibilities
such as parenting or employment. Eight women (Mannee, Hathai, Rudee, Chimlin, Naak, Preeda,
Suda, and Pakpo) and five men (Daw, Deha, Chakrii, Sonthi, and Preed) recounted features of their
lives which were then classified as fitting this pathway; the most commonly narrated trajectory into
prison for both genders.
All the participants on this pathway described experiencing significant adverse childhood events
which led to “skipping school,” “partying,” running away from home, drinking alcohol, smoking
cigarettes, and “hanging out” with friends who were also behaving in “bad” ways. It was through
these peers that each participant described being introduced to drugs. At some point in their lives, all
but one woman (Chimlin) had used drugs on a problematic basis.
Women in this group also com-
monly described experiencing victimization as adults. This was not apparent among the men on this
pathway. Four of the women were subjected to additional trauma as adults. Manee, Naak, and Pakpo
were victims of domestic violence, and Hathai’s son was removed from her care by his father (an event
she described as a “traumatic”). For all but four of these women and men, the proximate motive for
drug offending was economic, whether to support their drug use or access other material items, but
their trajectories into prison began with childhood adversity and trauma.
At the time of their arrest, three women—Mannee, Hathai, and Rudee—described themselves as
drug users. However, under deeming provisions,
they were charged with drug distribution offenses.
For example, Hathai was 18 years old at the time of her arrest. During her interview, she explained that
childhood experiences of maternal abandonment had led to low levels of self-esteem and depression.
As a younger adolescent, she started going out with her friends who drank alcohol and smoked
cigarettes and started “not coming home so much.” Hathai “accidentally” had a baby at 17 years of
age, but the child’s father took the baby away against her wishes. Hathai then started working as a
“promo girl,” was introduced to “Ice”
by her new friends at work, and described feeling “happy for
the first time in my life.” She recounted being “addicted to” drugs, and this “addiction” eventually led
to her arrest and incarceration.
Chimlin, Naak, and Suda sold drugs but were not using them at the time of their arrest. Each woman
had been the victim of childhood abuse while Naak, at the age of 15 years, had also been the victim of
domestic violence. As teenagers, these women had run away to escape abuse at home, were introduced
Table 7. Pathways to Prison.
Pathways to Prison
Women Men
N¼18 % N¼16 %
Adverse childhood experiences 8 44 5 31
Peer-group association 5 28 6 37
Economic motivation 3 17 3 19
Male deception and exploitation 2 11 2 12
Jeffries et al. 11
to drugs by friends, and had children with men who were heavy drug users. Naak and Suda started
using drugs to deal with the trauma they had experienced in their lives but eventually managed to cease
using. Suda stopped when she became a mother and Naak after leaving her abusive boyfriend.
The final two women on this pathway, Preeda and Pakpo, described themselves as user-
dealers. Both women were abandoned by their parents and raised by grandparents. Preeda’s
grandmother died when she was 15 years old, leaving her alone and grief stricken. Pakpo’s
grandfather was abusive. In both cases, the extended families were generally unsupportive. Both
women started skipping school, drinking alcohol, and “hanging out with friends at night and
partying.” As Pakpo explained:
I don’t feel like I had a happy childhood, we didn’t stay like we were a family, everyone else has a family,
they have parents and I don’t. I had to stay with my grandma. I was closer to my friends from school and
senior friends in the village.
Preeda eventually found employment in the sex industry. She was introduced to drugs by her friends
at work and became “addicted.” Pakpo was also introduced to drugs by friends at work. As she
explained, “I had to try it [drugs] ...if I want to do anything I just do it.” She eventually discovered
that her boyfriend (and father of her child) was also using drugs; they used and sold methamphetamine
together. Pakpo developed an “addiction” but eventually left her boyfriend because “he hit me many
times.” She moved to Bangkok and stopped using drugs for a few years, but on returning to her home
province, quickly reverted to drug use and dealing.
The men in this group described similarly unhappy and traumatic childhoods. In contrast to the
women, however, all of the men described themselves as drug dealers or user-dealers rather than drug
users only. Further, none of the men had children or worked in the sex industry; only one was
romantically involved with a drug-using intimate partner, and none experienced trauma beyond that
which occurred during their childhood. Further, all maintained continuity in their deviant/criminal
lifestyle from adolescence through to adulthood. Unlike the women, the men’s deviant behavior
sometimes involved violence.
Daw, Chakrii, and Sonthi were user-dealers. Daw and Chakrii both grew up in families with
domestically violent fathers, while Sonthi described his relationship with one of his caregivers as “not
a good one.” To avoid going home, they began “hanging out” more with friends who smoked cigar-
ettes, consumed alcohol, and used illicit drugs. These friends subsequently introduced them to illicit
drugs. Daw, for example, explained, “I have a problem with my family, so I didn’t go home ....I
became addicted to [methamphetamine].” Chakrii similarly stated, “I spend time with my friends
because of the stress [i.e. father perpetrating domestic violence against his mother] at home.” When
one of Chakrii’s friends suggested using sleeping tablets to help him cope with his home life, he
agreed, but then developed an “addiction” and started selling drugs to finance his use. At the age of 16,
Sonthi ran away from home. He started working in a bar where his new friends introduced him to
drugs. He became “addicted,” and to support his drug use and newfound partying lifestyle, he started
selling drugs. After leaving school, Daw went to university but continued to associate with a peer
group that he described as “bad.” He was involved in several violent altercations with other men and
used and sold drugs. He ascribed his offending to his peer group and substance use: “Every time it [his
offending] related to drug[s] and alcohol ...when my friends call me to go out, I got back to drug use.”
All three men are in prison for selling drugs.
Decha and Preed had both struggled with what they described as drug “addiction” at some point in
their lives, but at the time of their arrest, were dealers only. Both men were abandoned by their parents
and raised by grandparents. For example, reflecting on the time his parents left him, Decha said, “I did
not want to do anything, when I look at other kids who have parents I envy them because I didn’t have
anyone at all .... I use to be a good student but when this thing happen[ed], I turn[ed] into a different
12 Contemporary Drug Problems XX(X)
person.” Decha started selling methamphetamine in secondary school because “I was short of money
and didn’t want to ask my Grandpa and Aunty.” His friends used methamphetamine, and shortly after
leaving secondary school, Decha followed in their footsteps: “I had nothing, so my friend says ‘ok let’s
try it,’ so I did.” He developed an “addiction,” and started selling drugs to support his drug use and
because he “want[ed] things.”
Although all participants identified adverse childhood experiences as important events in their
pathways to imprisonment for drug offending, the analysis also highlights differences among women
and men. Although both women and men were left with depleted social and emotional resources as a
result of childhood experiences, women’s pathways appeared more difficult to navigate than men’s,
with fewer opportunities available to them to escape further victimization/trauma. In particular,
women’s experiences as children appeared to rob them of key protections and resources that left them
more vulnerable to further victimization/trauma at the hands of others, both family members and
intimate partners, across their life course. This appeared to be an accumulative phenomenon, as each
experience built upon the previous one to render women increasingly vulnerable. Drug use, for both
the women and men, was frequently described as a response to trauma and a means to make money.
Peer-Group Association
Five women (Wattana, Kosum, Bussaba, Mali, and Hom) and six men (Dusit, Dang, Ukrit, Wirat,
Arthit, and Niran) communicate aspects of their lives which we then categorized as constituting this
pathway; the second most commonly narrated trajectory into prison. There was generally a lack of
adverse childhood experiences among this group. Arthit and Niran were the only participants to report
childhood adversity. In addition, none of the women (or men) on this pathway were victims of
domestic violence (or other trauma) in adulthood.
All but two people on this pathway were user-
dealers, selling drugs, at least in part, to support their drug use. Everyone expressed enjoyment of the
lifestyle offered by drug dealing. Peer groups and the enjoyment of lifestyle was the dominant theme
that characterized this pathway and differentiated it from the others.
The majority of participants described stable and loving familial environments during childhood.
For most of these women and men, their friendship groups during adolescence or early adulthood were
a primary factor in their journey to prison. Peer groups introduced them to illicit drugs: They started
using and enjoying them, quickly developed “addictions,” and began selling drugs to support their drug
use, make money, and have fun. After trying drugs for the first time, the drug lifestyles of four women
(Wattana, Kosum, Mali, and Hom) and one man (Dang) became more entrenched because of their
relationships with romantic partners. This altered their involvement with drugs—from facilitated by
peer groups to facilitated by intimate relationships—but the themes remained consistent across these
social relationships.
Wattana, for example, shifted from cannabis to methamphetamine use after being introduced to it
by her boyfriend because “I love my boyfriend. If he asked me to do something, I would do it for him.”
She eventually sold methamphetamine in partnership with him and other intimate partners. After being
released from prison following a sentence for drug dealing (in partnership with her boyfriend), Kosum
started using drugs again because “my boyfriend ask[ed] if I want to use [them] again.” However,
rather than being unwittingly caught up in their partner’s offending, these women (and Dang)
described active participation in what were, at times, highly lucrative drug-dealing business spanning
many years. Hom’s small-scale drug-dealing business, for example, rapidly expanded when “I [met]
my second boyfriend ...that’s when I started doing business with people inside prison to deal drugs.”
Hom spent her money on travel, gambling, and cars and accumulated 600,000–700,000 THB (approx-
imately 18,000–21,000 USD) in savings.
Participants on this pathway were pulled away from what they described as loving families by peer
groups, the fun associated with partying lifestyles, and the significant amounts of money drug dealing
Jeffries et al. 13
offered, rather than being pushed by familial dysfunction into crime (as was the case on the adverse
childhood experience pathway). As noted by Bussaba:
I never got involved in drug before I started hanging out with friends. I was a good kid, and did well at
school ...and when I met this group of friends, I changed into a totally different person. If I [hadn’t met]
this group of friends, I [wouldn’t have] start[ed] using drug[s] or dealing drug[s]. Before I had a good life
with my Dad. When I start[ed] using drug[s], I just stop[ped] hanging out with my family.
In another example, Dusit started skipping classes in lower secondary school and began “hanging
out with friends, racing motorbikes and going out at night partying.” At the age of 17, he developed an
“addiction” to methamphetamine. After leaving school, Dusit’s family provided him with an allow-
ance, but he still wanted more money to support his drug use and partying lifestyle. He started selling
drugs because “I just want[ed] to have fun .... I am addicted to this nightlife and I did not have enough
money to spend.” His drug-dealing business expanded rapidly and was highly successful. He used the
money “to hang out partying, buying clothes, buying telephones, spend money on women and girls ....
I had a lot of girls, I bought a Harley motorbike.” Buying a Harley motorbike and being able to access
“lots of girls” shows how Dusit used drug dealing as a way of demonstrating masculine prowess.
In this pathway, participants’ descriptions of loving families were also suggestive of “inadequate
parental supervision” (Jones et al., 2014, p. 127). Participants described little or no attempt by parents
to control or discipline them; even when efforts were made, these proved ineffective. This theme was
evident in the stories of both women and men on this pathway. The provision of monetary allowances
without the expectation that their adolescent/adult children will find work was one example (e.g., see
Dusit’s story above). Other examples of narratives illustrating this appear in the stories below.
Reflecting on what led her into prison, Mali, for example, stated: “I feel like my life is just too
free .... I had too much freedom. I think my parents [were] kind.” Mali left school at the age of 15
because she had fallen behind and was asked to repeat a year. Her parents seemed unperturbed by this,
and she spent the next year at home “watching TV,” talking to people, “sniffing glue,” and “hanging
out” with her boyfriend. Whenever she needed money, Mali asked her mother. There were no
expressed parental expectations that Mali would help or contribute to her family in any way, for
example, by finding employment or working around the house. She became pregnant at the age of
16 but only cared for her child for around 5 months before her mother took over the responsibility. Mali
never formed a relationship with her son because “he knows I am a drug addict.” Mali was a self-
professed user-dealer (of heroin, later methamphetamine) who offended not only to support her
“addiction” but also because it was “fun, it’s exciting, you earn lots of money, you have to think all
the time .... I lack the patience to live a normal life.” Mali has spent her entire adult life in and out of
prison. Like Mali, Bussaba also spoke fondly of the “lifestyle,” of using and having “a lot of money”
(through selling drugs).
In another example, Wirat loved going to school but “not for studying.” Rather, he liked to “hang
out with my friends.” He was the “head of a gang,” started using methamphetamine at the age of 13,
and was “always in trouble for fighting.” His parents were frequently called to the school due to
Wirat’s “bad” behavior, and he was eventually expelled but, “my parents never punish[ed] me.” After
leaving school, he “stay[ed] at home” and dealt drugs. Wirat’s parents “knew but [couldn’t] do
anything about it.” They made an attempt to control their son’s movements by refusing to buy him
a motorbike, but Wirat construed this as the turning point that led him to prison. His parents’ attempt to
control him was used to legitimize his offending:
I think if my parents had given me a motorcycle, I wouldn’t [have] turn[ed] into a drug seller. The turning
point [was]: I wanted a motorcycle, all my friends [had] motorcycles, it looked cool, I was the leader of the
gang, so that’s why I really need[ed] a motorcycle.
14 Contemporary Drug Problems XX(X)
Similar to Dusit, the money earned through selling drugs presented Wirat with a way to demonstrate
masculine prowess. As the leader of a gang, he needed the motorcycle to “look cool” in the eyes of his
peer group.
Some parents also appeared unaware of where their children were, whom they were friends with, or
what they were doing. For example, Kosum skipped school; hung out with a “bad” peer group;
smoked; and at 15 years, left home with her 24-year-old boyfriend. She worked in a Karaoke bar,
developed an “addiction” to crystalline methamphetamine, and ran a drug-dealing business; at first,
independently but later with her boyfriend. She said she felt “fearless because my boyfriend [was]
doing so well.” Her father was oblivious to this situation until after Kosum was arrested and impri-
soned in a juvenile detention facility. Upon her release, he changed his parenting approach, monitoring
Kosum closely. However, she eventually tricked her father into leaving the house and immediately
used drugs and met with her drug-using/drug-dealing boyfriend. She was then promptly arrested and
imprisoned again.
Arthit’s and Niran’s story differed in some ways from other narratives in this group. For example,
both men described growing up in a low-income family and experiencing childhood adversity. Unlike
others, their associations with a drug-connected peer group during adolescence did not happen in the
absence of parental supervision or guardianship. Arthit and Niran did not use drugs; they were dealers
only. Nonetheless, both their narratives reflected the central theme common to this pathway: the
enjoyment and peer-group status that came from engaging in a drug-connected lifestyle. For Arthit
and Niran (as for Wirat and Dusit), this appeared to be connected to the opportunity the lifestyle
presented them to demonstrate masculine prowess.
Arthit was a professional sportsman who earned more than enough (47,000 THB per week, approx-
imately 1,400 USD) to support himself and his family (i.e., his parents and siblings). However, he
decided to sell drugs because:
It was like a competition between me and my friends know like who can be richer of us
would try and decorate our car and getting an expensive place to stay ...when he has a gold necklace, I
want a bigger necklace.
Arthit sent all the money he earned legitimately home to his family. What he earned dealing drugs
was spent on “partying, nightlife, decorating [my] motorbike, sell[ing] the old one and buy[ing] the
new one [every month].” Arthit understood that this masculine gaming was perhaps more acute for him
than for his friends because he came from an impoverished background. Unlike his friends, who could
draw on family money to compete, Arthit had to deal drugs to level the playing field.
Niran completed university with an undergraduate degree. He found well-paying professional
employment where he earned “enough for my expenses.” At the age of 25, Niran met and formed
an intimate relationship with his first and only girlfriend. He had few friends and instead focused on
working, supporting his girlfriend, and her children. A few years later, his girlfriend “cheated” and left
him for a drug-dealing “playboy type.” Niran described the loss of his girlfriend to a drug-dealing
playboy as something that challenged his sense of masculine self. A few months later, when the
opportunity arose, he reinvented himself as a drug-dealing masculine “playboy type,” actively seeking
out and connecting with men he knew were selling drugs. He explained that the turning point in his life
was “when my girlfriend cheated on me, when I was with my girlfriend I wasn’t involved in any drugs,
I was working, making money to feed my family.”
Gender differences appeared to be less significant in this group, although there were two gendered
aspects that warrant consideration. The first is the greater role that intimate partners played in facil-
itating or supporting women’s connections to drug-connected peer groups. Second, shows of mascu-
linity appeared to underpin some aspects of men’s motivations within this group and had some
resonance with women as well. Wirat’s and Dusit’s motorcycles, Dusit’s garnering of female attention,
Jeffries et al. 15
Arthit’s displays of wealth, and Niran’s ability to project a “playboy” image are described in terms of
enhancing their masculine status in the eyes of others. Kosum’s statement that her boyfriend’s status
made her “fearless” when co-dealing with him also alludes to the value of masculinity in this context.
Using and selling drugs, within this narrative, was tied to peer-group status and power for both women
and men, and masculine power was flagged as particularly important.
Economic Motivation
Three women (Apinya, Achara, and Phawta) and three men (Sumate, Klahan, and Chanchai) recounted
features of their lives which were then classified as fitting this pathway. All can be classified as drug
dealers only. Aside from Phawta, the initial or primary motivation for offending was economic familial
provisioning. These women and men made a choice to distribute drugs within a context of economic
insecurity and familial caretaking. They grew up in households marred by poverty. In addition, they
did not complete secondary school, which limited employment prospects and continued the cycle of
poverty into adulthood.
Apinya and Achara both described growing up in loving normative families. Neither woman
associated with deviant peer groups nor engaged in deviant behavior until, as adults, they made a
decision to support their families through the drug trade. Apinya and Achara’s childhood poverty
meant that neither of them attended secondary school. Both were “dutiful daughters,” tied to cultural
expectations requiring the female provision of financial support to parents and other natal family
members (Angeles & Sunata, 2009).
For example, Apinya found work at a young age to help support herself, her parents, and her
siblings. After having children of her own, she continued to provide for her natal family. She told
us, “I am the one who earn[ed] money to support the family (i.e., parents and siblings).” Achara also
left school early to provide for her family. She said:
I quit school, I had to work, I collect[ed] garbage just to earn some money [and then I] work[ed] in a flower
factory .... I [sent] money home to support my family [i.e. parents].
When she was 16 years, Apinya married and had four children, but her husband was unfaithful and
left Apinya for another woman. Apinya was then left alone to support her four children and natal
family members on the 700 THB (approximately 21 USD) per month she made from selling food.
Undereducated, impoverished, alone, and as her entire family’s only means of financial support,
Apinya had few choices. So, when a friend of her ex-husband provided her with the opportunity to
sell drugs, she took it:
When my husband left, I felt stressed, I need[ed] to get money for the food for the babies and education
fee ...then I meet the friend and I make a decision to do drugs. If my husband had come back to me and our
family came back as normal, then I didn’t have to work so hard .... I wouldn’t commit any crime.
For around 4–5 months, Apinya picked up marijuana and delivered it to the friend of her husband
who then sold it. This man was eventually arrested by the police, and he informed them of Apinya’s
The men on this pathway lived with poverty as children but also experienced other significant
adverse childhood events (i.e., drug using, criminal family members, and parental abandonment, death,
or incarceration), associated with deviant peer groups during adolescence, and used drugs (at some
point in their lives). These men differed from those on the adverse childhood trajectory and peer-group
association pathway (see above) because none maintained a continuous lifestyle of drug use and/or
drug dealing across the life course. Further, and in contrast to the men on the previous two pathways, at
16 Contemporary Drug Problems XX(X)
the time of their offending, these men had intimate partners and children reliant on them for financial
support. They were men for whom familial economic provisioning was of paramount concern, but
none were able to earn enough money to meet their family’s basic needs. However, unlike Achara and
Apinya, the men on this pathway did not provide financial support to natal family members; their
familial financial obligations extended only to wives/girlfriends and children. As adults, these men
either resumed using/dealing drugs after ceasing these activities during adolescence or used and dealt
drugs for the first time because of the pressure associated with long working hours, low pay, and the
need to support wives/girlfriends and children. Unlike previous pathways, the money earned was just
enough to meet everyday expenses. It did not support drug “addictions” or what could be construed as
lifestyle experiences (e.g., partying) and luxury items (e.g., phones, motorbikes, clothes).
For example, Klahan’s girlfriend abandoned him, leaving her child in his care. With a Grade 6
education, the only job that he could find was low paying—selling fabrics at the market. He did not
earn enough to pay for his stepdaughter’s “education fee and other needs.” He described feeling “very
stressed” about the financial situation and started using drugs to cope. Klahan had previously used
drugs during his teenage years but stopped after being arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for drug use
as a young man. When he started selling drugs, the money was “just enough” to cover the familial
expenses, and with the economic strain eased, Klahan stopped using drugs. He sold drugs for 3 years,
paying local police to look the other way. During this time, he also became involved with a new
intimate partner with whom he also sold drugs. He was finally arrested and imprisoned.
Phawta’s offending was also economically motivated, but her story differed from the others. While
her initial offending was motivated by the need to provide financially for her brother, it continued as
the result of the desire for financial gain rather than economic necessity. In contrast to the other women
and men on this pathway, by her own account, Phawta had never wanted for money. She grew up in a
middle-class family, finished secondary school, obtained a well-paying managerial position, and
married a wealthy man. She told us, “I earnt 25,000 THB [approximately 760 USD] a month work-
ing ...and my husband give me all his salary [of] 30,000 THB [approximately 912 USD) per month.”
When her brother was arrested for drug dealing, he asked Phawta for money to “bail him out.” Prior to
this time, Phawta did not know that “he was selling drugs.” She was unable to draw on her own funds to
pay for her brother’s bail because “everyone in my family is a government officer, they can’t handle
this happening, I can’t use that money.” Her “brother suggest[ed] that I go and sell drugs. So I sold the
drugs and got the money to bail him out.” While her initial offending is consistent with familial
economic provisioning, after selling the drugs this first time, Phawta made the decision to continue.
She explains why:
It is a quick way to earn money. I already did it once. If anyone in my family want[ed] something I [was]
able to buy it for them. I was earning 1 million THB per month [approximately 30,000 USD] selling drugs.
No one knew I was selling drugs. I bought land with it. Only me and my brother [knew]. I like[d] selling
drugs, I had money, I didn’t think of the consequence. I also bought a gold bar. I just did it, I didn’t think
about anything. Nothing would stop me. I wouldn’t have listened to anyone. The reason was I like[d] doing
it and I like[d] the money. [The best time of my life] was when I was selling drugs and I [had] money.
Money was a central theme in this narrative, but for most of the individuals in this group, money
was closely tied to familial duty and expectations in the context of lifelong poverty and lack of
opportunity. For women, this was a particularly burdensome duty as they described having onerous
caregiving obligations and social expectations, with few resources available to pursue other
“legitimate” economic options. Even for Phawta, familial duty was the original motivation for her
decision to sell drugs. Although, unlike others, she had personal and social resources upon which she
could usually draw, these could not be drawn upon to meet her duty to her brother. This highlights how
familial duty can operate both as a chronic and an acute factor, depending on the context.
Jeffries et al. 17
Male Deception and Exploitation
The final pathway to prison that we identified was taken by two women (Som and Gamon) and two
men (Phichit and Chaow). The central theme in their narratives concerned male deception and exploi-
tation, but the specific stories highlighted several interesting gender differences.
The two women, Som and Gamon, grew up in stable and happy families. Neither associated with a
deviant peer group during adolescence nor did they try drugs or engage in other deviant behavior. Both
women left school early—Som in lower secondary school and Gamon at the elementary school level.
Som discontinued her education because she fell pregnant to her boyfriend. They married, had a
second child, and appeared to have a good relationship up until the point that her husband had an
affair and they separated. Gamon left school at the age of 13 to work in her aunt’s beauty salon to
support her family. She met her husband 10 years later. They had two children and, like Som, this
relationship ended as a result of her husband’s infidelity. Som and Gamon’s ex-husbands failed to
provide financially for their children postseparation. Both women eventually remarried and, as
described by them, were in different ways deceived within the contexts of their new marital
Gamon’s second husband “treats [her] very well,” supporting her and providing money to send
home to her family (and children). She left Bangkok and moved to her husband’s home province only
to discover he was already married. Nonetheless, they stayed together. Unbeknownst to Gamon, her
husband was a drug dealer. She did not learn about this until after the police searched their house
(which was in her name). They found drugs hidden in a speaker and arrested her. She told us:
To know this guy, my life was ok back then; me and my family were ok. If I [didn’t] know this guy I
wouldn’t be here [in prison] today.
Som similarly recounted that her second marriage was “good,” and her husband “treat[ed] her
well.” Like Gamon, Som left Bangkok and moved with her husband to his home province. One night,
her husband’s friends, whom she had never before met, visited. They gave Som and her husband a
“supplement,” saying it would help Som’s now aging husband perform better sexually. These friends
were arrested later that same evening and were found to be in possession of methamphetamine. The
“supplements” were illicit drugs. Som and her husband were also arrested. Som states:
[If I could turn back time] I would tell my husband not to socialize too much with his friends, he trust[ed]
his friends, and we didn’t think it would end like this.
Som and Gamon both described standover tactics during police questioning and felt pressured into
signing confession documents. Som explained, “the police ask[ed] me to sign a document, it’s a lot of
paperwork to read and I was put in the police jail for one night, so when they ask[ed] me to sign, I
sign[ed].” Gamon, who had a Grade 6 level of education, said:
The police force[d] me to sign a paper to confess. [They said] “you are the renter of the house so you must
sign” .... I sign[ed] because the police say “I must sign” and they wouldn’t let me speak to a lawyer until I
Up until the point of arrest, the world of illicit drugs was foreign to Som and Gamon. These women
had been law-abiding their entire lives. They had low levels of formal education and no obvious
criminal knowledge. They described themselves as being naive, as being deceived and exploited by
the primary offenders, their male partners and friends, and by the police, onto a prison pathway.
The two men on this pathway, Phichit and Chaow, described their imprisonment as the result of
having been “used” by deviant/criminal men. Phichit and Chaow grew up in poor families and left
18 Contemporary Drug Problems XX(X)
school at a young age; they portrayed their childhood in positive terms. Neither of them was involved
in deviant behavior as young men. During adulthood, they married, had children, and worked legit-
imate jobs supporting their wives and children. They were first introduced to the world of illicit drugs
at work, where their colleagues regularly used methamphetamine to stay awake to perform their
workplace duties.
Phichit worked as a bodyguard, which required him to “stay up all night.” When his work col-
leagues suggested that he use methamphetamine, he stated, “I want[ed] to stay up to protect him [his
boss who liked to party all night] so I ask[ed] my friend to bring me [methamphetamine] so I [could]
stay up like him.” Chaow was employed as a truck driver, and some of the people he worked with used
methamphetamine to stay awake at work. Unlike Phichit, who said he developed an “addiction” to
methamphetamine, Chaow did not use drugs, but he sometimes “got into fights” when drinking with
his friends from work. At one point, this violence led to Chaow being arrested and remanded into
prison, but he was never convicted.
Phichit and Chaow were imprisoned as a result of becoming entangled in events precipitated by
their relationships with other men. Both men were simply trying to help out a male friend who
subsequently exploited this friendship. Chaow was hired as a driver by a friend he met in prison while
on remand. This person’s van needed to be taken to Bangkok for repairs, and he asked Chaow to drive
him there. The van contained drugs, but this fact was not shared with Chaow until “they [were] on the
road.” When Chaow found out, he:
Fe[lt] afraid [because] he [the friend] [was] a drug dealer and [would] kill me because I [had] information
about the drugs. He [also] offer[ed] me 200,000 THB [approximately 6000 USD] [and] I want[ed] to better
support my family.
Phichit received a phone call from a friend asking where he might be able to buy drugs. Phichit put
his friend in contact with his drug dealer, but it was a police “set up,” and Phichit was arrested even
I never dealt drugs, I earn[ed] enough money. I wanted to help my friend out that is why I got caught. I just
[took] the call and put them in contact. That is all I did.
For those on this pathway, deception and/or exploitation by men shaped participants’ involvement
in drug offending. There were, however, key gender differences across the stories as well. For women,
the male deception and/or exploitation occurred against the backdrop of an intimate relationship,
whereas male peer groups were more important for men. The accounts offered were also gendered.
The women described themselves as naive and unwitting, and the men recounted their deception and/
or exploitation in more active terms. Nonetheless, for each participant, relationships with men were
implicated as responsible for their deception and/or exploitation highlighting the important role social
networks and relationships played in these participants’ pathways to prison.
Summary and Discussion
The current study drew on life course and feminist pathways perspectives to describe, examine, and
compare women’s and men’s pathways to prison in Thailand for drug offending. Overall, the study
identified four pathways based on participant descriptions and highlighted similarities and variance by
gender across and within these pathways.
Overall, childhood adversity, deviant peer-group associations, drug “addiction,” and familial eco-
nomic provisioning were important features of both women’s and men’s stories. Women were more
likely to be parents, to work in the sex industry, and to form intimate relationships with people engaged
Jeffries et al. 19
in deviant behavior, and their involvement with illicit drugs more frequently occurred within the
context of a romantic entanglement. Women who used, but did not sell, drugs also appeared, at times,
to be misclassified as dealers in circumstances where the quantity of drugs in their possession was
sufficient to trigger this offense classification. This did not occur among the men. Some women also
reported being victims of domestic violence: This was not a factor in any of the men’s narratives. The
men’s criminal histories were slightly more extensive than the women’s, as was their self-identified
problematic drug use and propensity to act violently. More men than the women reported being the
victims of police abuse and violence.
Still, women were slightly less likely to receive legal repre-
sentation in court.
The two most common pathways to prison for both women and men were the adverse childhood
experiences and peer-group association trajectories. Corresponding to Daly’s (1994) “street” pathway,
these participants were either (1) pushed out of problematic home environments into peer groups that
introduced them to drugs or (2) drawn away by friends from loving parents who provided only limited
supervision into the excitement and monetary rewards associated with drugs. “Addiction” to drugs
(predominantly methamphetamine) and histories of deviant and/or criminal behavior were common-
place for those on both pathways. The point of difference between our findings and those of Daly’s
(1994) is the centrality of friendship groups and inadequate parental supervision. The importance of
these factors is nevertheless replicated in the “traditional anti-social” trajectory identified in Jones
et al.’s (2014) gender-comparative research, which included association with “antisocial” peers and
inadequate parental supervision.
The current research, and that undertaken by Shechory et al. (2011) in Israel, potentially validates
the key role of peer groups in some drug-offending pathways. Shechory et al. compared pathways to
prison for women by crime type and, in line with the current findings, argued that drug offenders were
more likely to experience childhood abuse and familial conflict, use drugs, and associate with a deviant
peer group.
The centrality of childhood adversity as well as inadequate parental supervision and peer-group
influence is supported by an extensive literature exploring predictors of drug initiation, use, and
“addiction” for women and men in Western and non-Western countries, including Thailand (Assa-
nangkornchai et al., 2017; Bowles, DeHart, & Reid-Webb, 2012; Brecht, O’Brien, von Mayrhauser, &
Anglin, 2004; Cohen, 2014; Dishion, Capaldi, Spracklen, & Li, 1995; Ennett et al., 2006; Evans,
Forsyth, & Gauthier, 2002; Kaplan, Martin, & Robbins, 1984; Kiesner, Poulin, & Dishion, 2010;
Latimore et al., 2011; Lee, 2011; Messina, Grella, Burdon, & Prendergast, 2007; Rodgers-Farmer,
2000; Sherman, 2008; Svensson, 2003). For example, Cohen’s (2014) ethnographic research with
youth in northern Thailand demonstrated that methamphetamine use helped fulfill young peoples’
desires to belong and achieve status within youth subcultures. Drug use countered feelings of isolation
and loneliness while also enhancing the pleasurable experience of a range of social activities (e.g.,
dancing, motor bike racing, listening to music, spending time with friends). The importance of friend-
ship, “hanging out” with peers, and the lifestyle offered by drug use was echoed by the participants in
our research.
Gendered variance within the adverse childhood experiences and peer-group association pathways
did nonetheless exist. For example, some women in the adverse childhood experiences pathway
described accumulative victimization/trauma, including domestic violence, which continued into
adulthood. Further, in both groups, women were more likely than men to use and sell drugs within
the context of a romantic relationship. However, in the peer-group association pathway, women were
not deceived, manipulated, controlled, or coerced into crime by the men in their lives. Rather, their
offending occurred in partnership with boyfriends and/or husbands. Indeed, these women were more
likely to be initiated into the world of illicit drugs by friends rather than intimate partners and likely
sought out men who could support rather than hinder their deviant lifestyles. This supposition is
20 Contemporary Drug Problems XX(X)
supported by research beyond the field of feminist pathways scholarship. For example, in their gender-
comparative research on injecting drug use, Bryant and Treloar (2007, p. 291) conclude:
For women who already have interest in experimenting with drugs, having a partner who uses provides an
opportunity to do so. Thus while it is clear that romantic-sexual partners play a role in women’s drug use,
this ought not be automatically interpreted to mean that woman are necessarily persuaded or pushed into
drug use by their partners.
For men, the peer-group association pathway disclosed a narrative theme on masculine prowess that
accords with Daly’s (1994, p. 77) “masculine gaming.” It included men who saw crime “as a form of
recreation” and who used the proceeds from drug sales as a way to demonstrate normative masculinity.
Since Daly’s work, scholars concerned with the connection between gender, crime, and male offending
have argued that drug crime provides an avenue through which men demonstrate masculinity (Colli-
son, 1996; Sanders, 2011).
The economic motivation pathway was the third most common trajectory and also traversed by
comparable numbers of women and men. Offending in this case loosely equates to Daly’s (1994)
“other” (economically) motivated pathway. Money was a central theme in this pathway and tied
closely to familial economic provisioning. However, once again, there were gender differences within
the pathway. In contrast to men, the women on this pathway had no prior history of deviant behavior or
adverse childhood experiences and, as “dutiful daughters,” were responsible for the provision of
financial support not only to immediate family (i.e., children and/or husbands) but also to natal family
members (Angeles & Sunata, 2009).
The final pathway, male deception and exploitation, highlighted the centrality of relationships for
both women and men and demonstrated how key relationships can operate to facilitate a person’s
pathway to prison as the result of unique events. For women, this was more commonly connected to
their misplaced faith and trust in an intimate male partner. In their view, their “naivety” made them
vulnerable to deception and exploitation by experienced male offenders and police. Their stories align
with Daly’s (1994) “drug connected” women. As with the “bad luck men” in Daly’s research, the men
who took this pathway to prison were used by other deviant/criminal men.
In addition to Daly’s (1994) work, our findings are for the most part consistent with feminist
pathways studies conducted with female-only samples in non-Western settings. Troubled lives,
familial economic provisioning, offending against the backdrop of romantic relationships, com-
paratively unjust, and/or corrupt criminal justice processes, including a lack of competent legal
representation in court, are all highlighted as drivers of women’s imprisonment including within
Thailand (Artz et al., 2012; Berko et al., 2010; Cherukuri et al., 2009; Havanon, Jeradechakul,
Wathanotai, Paungsawad, et al., 2012; Havanon, Jeradechakul, Wathanotai, Ratanarojsakul, et al.,
2012; Khalid & Khan, 2013; Kim et al., 2007; Maghsoudi et al., 2017; Shechory et al., 2011;
Shen, 2015).
Aside from participants within the male deception and exploitation pathway, and a small number of
women arrested for distribution (rather than possession) offenses, our findings do not support Hava-
non, Jeradechakul, Wathanotai, Paungsawad, et al.’s (2012) generalizations that female drug crime in
Thailand likely falls at the lower end of the seriousness scale and/or occurs within contexts beyond
women’s control in association with deceptive romantic partners. This disparity in results likely
reflects Havanon et al.’s selective sampling method in which cases were handpicked to explore a set
of predetermined assumptions.
Since Kathy Daly’s groundbreaking work and the subsequent emergence of pathways feminism
within criminology, research on gendered pathways to offending and criminalization has focused
almost exclusively on women. This is despite the fact that the trajectories of both women and men
were explored in Daly’s founding work. The research reported in this article contributes to an emerging
Jeffries et al. 21
body of life course and pathways research by extending knowledge of women’s and men’s prison
trajectories beyond the West. In doing so, we make an important contribution to the field. Our findings
suggested that there were a number of different pathways by which women and men enter prison for
drug offending in Thailand. Each pathway was characterized by a common theme and a number of
similar factors and events that clustered within the lives of the participants who shared the narrative. In
addition, our analysis identified gender differences within pathways. Thus, similarly constituted path-
ways are experienced differently by men/women.
Our study was nevertheless limited to a small sample of prisoners convicted of particular crimes
within one country’s prison system. While aligned with previous research, once the sample was
sectioned into pathways, and then explored by gender, the factors and themes that emerged may not
be indicative of broader patterns of pathways or experiences. A larger follow-up study would therefore
be useful. In addition, further research needs to be undertaken in Thailand, the broader Southeast Asia
region and beyond to explore the pathways to prison of both women and men for drug offending and
with respect to other crimes.
The authors would like to thank the Thailand Institute of Justice, the School of Criminology and
Criminal Justice at Griffith University, and the Griffith Criminology Institute for supporting this
research. We are also extremely grateful to our research assistant Michelle Middleton and, most
importantly, to the women and men who so kindly gave us their time and shared their stories.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or
publication of this article.
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this
1. As outlined by Tantiwiramanond (1997, pp. 180 and 193), “in matrifocality social organisation revolves
around female members of the family ...there is [a matrilocal] residence, in which the groom moves in with
the bride’s family, the authority as the head of the household [nevertheless] is passed from father-in-law to
son-in-law. Sons and daughters have equal inheritance rights, but usually the parent’s household compound is
allocated to the youngest daughter.” However, in return and as outlined above in the text, a daughter becomes
“somewhat of a bonded labourer to her parents.”
2. The family into which a person is born and (usually) raised.
3. Only 0.5%of young women fell into this category.
4. In this article, the term “deviance” (and related terms) is used to denote socially condemned behavior, that is,
violations of the established social rules and customs that prevail in Thai society. Obviously, deviance is a
social construction dependent on prevailing power relationships. The authors do not see “deviance” as
inherently (un)natural or as intrinsic to any particular act, belief of human attribute. Instead, we understand
deviance to be socially created by collective human judgment (Hills, 1980, p. 9). However, the purpose of this
article is not to contest social constructions of deviance (or for that matter drug crime) in Thai society. Rather,
our intention is to report prisoners’ narratives of their pathways into prison/reasons for offending. Prisoners’
narratives do not sit in isolation from society; having been publicly labeled “criminal” and condemned to
prison for their behavior, it is perhaps unsurprising that study participants frequently constructed their
behaviors/actions and those of others as “deviant.”
22 Contemporary Drug Problems XX(X)
5. This paper, as is the case with prior pathways scholarship, only explores the prison pathways of cisgender
women and men. The prison trajectories of those identifying as non-gender binary likely differ to cisgender
individuals. While we have interviewed Thai prisoners who identify as non-gender binary, their stories are
beyond the scope of this article and will be the subject of a future publication.
6. This means that all participant quotations presented in the following sections of this article are verbatim as per
the English translation.
7. Ethical clearance for this research was granted by the Griffith University Human Research Ethics Committee
(reference #: 2016/466).
8. Education in Thailand is compulsory for the first 9 years, that is, 6 years of elementary school and 3 years of
lower secondary school. Children are enrolled in elementary school from the age of 6. Secondary education
starts at the age of 12 and consists of 3 years of lower secondary education and 3 years of upper secondary
education. After compulsory education ends (i.e., lower secondary), pupils can pursue upper secondary
education in a general academic, university-preparatory track, or continue their studies in more
employment-geared vocational school programs (Michael, 2018). According to United Nations Educational,
Scientific, and Cultural Organization (2018), only 1%of young people in Thailand fail to complete elemen-
tary school, but 15%never finish lower secondary education. Data on upper secondary school completion are
not available.
9. At the time of our fieldwork, the Narcotics Act B.E 2522 (1979) was the main legislation in Thailand
governing illegal or prohibited drugs. The consumption, possession, distribution, possession for the purposes
of distribution, production, and import/export of narcotic substances as proscribed in the Act are offenses
punishable by fines and imprisonment. Narcotic offences are divided into five categories with sentencing
guided both by the quantity and category of drug. Harsher sentences are proscribed for offenses involving
Category 1 drugs which include, for example, heroin, amphetamine, and methamphetamine. Any person who
distributes or possesses for distribution a Category I drug with an amount ranging from 1.5 grams to 20 grams
is liable to imprisonment for a minimum period of 4 years up to life imprisonment or for a fine between
400,000 and 5,000,000 THB (approximately 12,000–153,000 USD). In addition, the Act contains deeming
provisions that ascribe intention as to distribution directly from the quantity of drug found in a person’s
possession. For example, under Article 15 of the Act, a person in possession of specified quantities of a
Category 1 drug is deemed to have the narcotics for the purpose of distribution. This means, for instance, that
anyone in possession of more than 1.5 grams of methamphetamine is assumed by law to be in possession of
the drug for the purpose of distribution, even if the drug was really for personal use.
10. As with “deviance,” the term “offending” is denoted in terms of the legal construction and consequences of
the behaviors described, not as a normative claim by the authors.
11. See Endnote 9, above.
12. This was self-identified by participants who expressed having a “problem” or being “addicted” to drugs.
13. See Endnote 9, above.
14. Research on youth and drug use in Thailand suggests that “[m]ethamphetamine is the second most popular
drug of abuse in Thailand” (Chulathida & Manaboriboon, 2012).
15. Two women did indicate that violence featured in their intimate relationships with men, but they described
toxic relationships characterized by mutual drug “addiction” and dysfunction. These women were not fearful
of their intimate partners nor did they feel controlled by them.
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survey of people who inject drugs undertaken by Hayashi et al. (2013) found that 38%of participants reported
they had been physically assaulted by police.
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Author Biographies
Samantha Jeffries has an extensive track record of research and publication in the areas of (1) domestic violence
and (2) gender, Indigeneity, ethnicity, crime, and the criminal justice system. In recent years, she has established a
strong working relationship with the Thailand Institute of Justice, having partnered with them to undertake
research and co-author academic articles exploring human rights, gendered pathways to, and experiences of
imprisonment in Thailand, Cambodia, and Kenya.
Chontit Chuenurah is a passionate advocate of gender-sensitive policies and practices in the correctional system.
She was one of the pioneer team members behind the successful adoption of the Bangkok Rules in Thailand. In her
current role at the Thailand Institute of Justice, she is responsible for research and capacity building activities to
support the implementation of the Bangkok Rules and other international instruments related to the treatment of
26 Contemporary Drug Problems XX(X)
offenders. She has undertaken extensive research and co-authored academic articles exploring human rights,
gendered pathways to, and experiences of imprisonment in Thailand, Cambodia, and Kenya.
Rebecca Wallis’s research interests fall broadly within the areas of criminal law and procedure, and criminal
justice system structure and operation. In particular, she explores how criminal law theories and principles play
out in policy and practice and how these shape the operation of the criminal justice system in intended and
unintended ways. She is a doctoral candidate within the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith
University. Her doctoral thesis explores maternal pathways through imprisonment.
Jeffries et al. 27
  • Article
    Studies undertaken on women incarcerated in African countries are limited. In this article we explore Kenyan women's (n = 49) narratives of their journeys into prison using life history interviews and a feminist pathways approach. Results show the life stories of imprisoned women in Kenya reflect those of female prisoners elsewhere. In particular, victimisation, disordered familial and intimate relationships, low levels of education, poverty and motherhood (often in teen years) characterised many women's lives. Some also struggled with addiction (usually to alcohol but sometimes illicit drugs) and poor physical health due to HIV infection. Barriers to justice were a generic problem. In addition to these broad categorical findings six different pathway experiences were identified: 1) the economically motivated pathway; 2) domestic violence pathway, 3) harmed and harming pathway, 4) deviant women pathway, 5) pathway of negligible culpability and justice inaccessibility, 6) pathway of one life changing moment.
  • Article
    This article compares and contrasts the biographies of young men sentenced to secure care and/or prison for similar offences. In doing so, attention is given to the range of social, cultural, familial and economic conditions which frame young peoples’ lives, and which, for various periods of time, invite such persons to ‘get by’ or make sense of their existence through crime. The narratives of young men concerning their families, their neighbourhoods, and their perspectives on educational and other life-course opportunities denied or presented them, are used to pose a series of questions concerning who or what gets punished when persons are required to serve time in juvenile or adult custodial facilities. I conclude the article with the claim that confinement punishes not simply the offender. Rather, confinement (ineffectually and unjustly) interrupts successive (unlawful) attempts to negotiate the social and structural conditions of residents‘/prisoners’ life courses - conditions over which young people, in particular, often have little or no control.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The current study proposes a heuristic model for classification of female offenders into groups based on key variables relevant to women’s backgrounds and programming needs. We utilize a mixed-methods approach with a sample of 60 women incarcerated in a maximum-security prison. We develop qualitative, person-centered groupings of female offenders, and then use quantitative analyses to provide more detailed data on each group. Findings demonstrate five distinct groupings: aggressive career offenders, women who killed or assaulted persons in retaliation or self-defense, women who maltreated children, substance-dependent women experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV), and social capital offenders. These findings lend support to prior research on pathways and typologies of women’s offending, and decision rules effectively “triage” cases according to most pressing needs. The model offers unique utility for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers working with women in the criminal legal system.
  • Article
    Scholars have already presented different pathways to crime for males and females. We need more investigation on these pathways especially for women. Therefore, this study aims at studying Iranian female offenders via a qualitative method. The Grounded Theory methodology was used to analyze the life history of the female offenders. Participants include 23 incarcerated women. Four pathways emerged during categorizing the data: family as the facilitator of the crime; addiction; escape; exclusion and lack of support. Finally, it was concluded that in spite of the similarity between these four neutral pathways, there is a contextual and gendered pathway, i.e. patriarchy. Although the findings of the present study are similar to Street Women scenario (Daly in Rev Law Women’s Stud 2:11–52, 1992; Miller in Street women. Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1986), there can be seen a latent mechanism at the background of this scenario, i.e. the shade of a patriarch system with its special power relations.
  • Article
    Introduction: Substance use during pregnancy contributes to the risk of adverse health outcomes in mothers and children-in utero and during later development. In this study, we investigated the prevalence of substance use and associated factors in pregnant women receiving antenatal care in public hospitals in Thailand. Methods: Women (3578) attending 7 antenatal care clinics in Songkhla for the first time during their current pregnancy were interviewed with a structured questionnaire focusing on demographic data, obstetric history, use of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances, and the General Health Questionnaire was administered. The use of substances was confirmed with the ultrarapid version of the Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test and urine tests, which were also administered to 1 in 5 to 10 randomly selected women whose screening results were negative. Results: Based on self-reports and General Health Questionnaire results, the weighted prevalence of alcohol, tobacco, or illicit substance use and that of "mental health problems" were 5.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.9-6.4) and 29.2% (95% CI, 27.5-30.9), respectively. On the basis of the ultrarapid version of the Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test and urine tests, the prevalence of likely substance use disorder during the 3 months prior to assessment was 1.2% (95% CI, 0.8-1.5) and 7.7% (95% CI, 4.6-10.7), respectively. Factors associated with substance use were religion, unmarried status, unplanned pregnancy, previous abortion, and current mental health problem. Discussion: Our results emphasize the need for identification of substance use and mental health problems, with the help of questionnaires and biological markers, followed by early intervention.
  • Chapter
    Initially the authors present an overview of the contemporary crime situation in Thailand, through an examination of the five crimes with the highest incidence at each of the three stages in the criminal justice process—police inquiry, prosecution, and trial—along with the correlation between them. After outlining the steps involved in the Thai criminal justice system, from alleged offence through to imprisonment and beyond, key punitive measures are the focus of attention: imprisonment together with probation and parole. Moving on to assess criminal justice reform in the context of the 1997 and 2007 Constitutions, recent changes in penal policy are outlined, including the overhaul of the Ministry of Justice itself including the creation of five new departments. Finally, whilst identifying the undeniable challenges ahead, particularly ensuring the understanding and support of not only the public but also justice system personnel together with the discrepancies which too often exist between policy and practice, the authors conclude that pressure from international standards and organizations will ultimately have a positive effect and lead to the enhanced effectiveness and fairness of the system as a whole.
  • Article
    An integrated model was developed and tested examining the interrelationships among parental monitoring, peer group association, and adolescent substance use. The theoretical model is based on Patterson and his colleagues' (Dishion, Reid, & Patterson, 1988) and Brown and his colleagues' (Brown, Mounts, Lamborn, & Steinberg, 1993) theoretical models explaining the interrelationships among parenting behavior, peer group association, and adolescent substance use. The results suggest that parental monitoring acts as a catalyst for both peer group association and adolescent substance use. Implications for interventions to prevent adolescent substance use are discussed. [Article copies available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-342-9678. E-mail address: <[email protected] /* */> Websile: <http://www.HaworthPress. com>].
  • Article
    Feminist (gendered) pathways theorists maintain that female criminality is largely survival-based, and tied to a constellation of factors including early trauma, ensuing mental health issues, and poverty. Based on items drawn from the Youth Assessment and Screening Instrument, multidimensional scaling was performed to elucidate the respective thematic structure of background and offending characteristics of 663 female and 1,175 male juvenile offenders under community supervision in New York State. Although the gendered pathways theme emerged exclusively for females, a theme closely resembling the traditional antisocial pathway depicted in mainstream correctional literature was also evident among females. Theoretical integration is therefore recommended.