Evie Evans's life history: Her sociological sojourn from a lifetime of crime to a life of dignity

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Debra VanAusdale


Crime, Evie Evans, Criminal justice system, Race, Class, Women offenders

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Arts and Humanities | Criminology | Race and Ethnicity | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


This study is an historical, social, and structural examination of the life of a Black woman whose experiences include chronic criminal behavior, intractable drug addiction, and recurrent imprisonment. The research is guided by the following three questions: (1) How does a Black woman negotiate and manage imprisonment as a juvenile offender and repeated incarcerations across five decades as an adult offender? (2) How is a lifetime of alcohol and drug abuse experienced and defined by those individuals labeled drug addicts? (3) What steps and support networks are necessary for the life history participant to make a successful transition into the free world? This work is an effort to situate the life history participant and her life experiences in their social and historical contexts. Additionally, this work will explore the dynamics of race, class, and gender. Although this research will not make generalizations to an entire Black female offender population, it will be valuable in offering a sociological interpretation of the experiences of other Black female offenders. The research is accomplished through the use of a multi-method approach utilizing multiple data sources as well as various methods of data gathering including content analysis, site visits, and audio taped interviews in the research participants' natural settings.


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