This study involved an assessment of the relevance of women’s background characteristics for predicting their offending in prison. Data were collected from over 650 women confined in a large prison for women in a Midwestern state, and the relative effects of these factors were examined. Findings revealed that background characteristics reflecting social demographics (e.g. race, sexual orientation) and women’s life experiences (e.g. abuse as achild) were relevant for predicting women’s violent and nonviolent misbehavior in prison.