Spring 2021

Document Type

Honors Project


Criminal Justice

Additional Department


First Advisor

Caitlin Taylor


This paper examines the role of county urbanicity as it relates to mean female jail incarceration rates in both the United States and Pennsylvania in the years 1970 and 2018. There are three research questions to be answered in this study. The first is whether mean female jail incarceration rates vary significantly by urbanicity (rural, small/mid, suburban, urban). The second is whether the relationship between female jail incarceration rates and urbanicity changed from 1970 to 2018. The third research question is whether the findings for questions 1 and 2 will be the same for both Pennsylvania and the United States. A one-way ANOVA analysis and descriptive statistics of data retrieved from the Vera Institute of Justice indicated that mean female jail incarceration rates do vary significantly by county, and that the highest mean female jail incarceration rates shifted from urban to rural counties between 1970 and 2018. Ultimately, this analysis indicates that particular attention be paid to criminal justice policies on the local level, especially with regard to rural counties and the lack of resources common there. Limitations on the conclusions and suggestions for future research are discussed.