Introduction There is an extensive body of research in the Western criminological literature highlighting criminal pathways specific to women in early, mostly qualitative discourse (Chesney-Lind and Pasko 1997; Daly 1992; Owen 1998; Richie 1996) as well as in relatively recent studies involving more quantitative methods discovering new avenues of conceptualization, measurement and analysis of these pathways (Brennan et al. 2012; Browne et al. 1999; DeHart 2008; Opsal and Foley 2013; Reisig et al. 2002; Simpson et al. 2008). The general theme emerging from this literature suggests that women may be affected to a greater extent than males by interpersonal violence, drug abuse, child abuse and absent parents. The question arises, then, as to the generality of these findings. Are they specific to the developed democratic states in which they have been studied, or do they apply as well to different societies, such as societies undergoing significant social and economic dislocation? For instance, if we turn our attention from the West to the countries of the former Soviet Union, would we find the same patterns of parental neglect, substance abuse and partner violence in the female prison population, or are the pathways different?