Recent research indicates that pathways into drug use and crime differ for males and females. Findings indicate that female detainees were more likely to use ‘hard’ drugs and to have been arrested for a property crime. The relationship between experiences of mental illness, drug use and arrest was also stronger for female detainees. The study also found a strong relationship, mediated by gender, between drug use, offending and prior experience of child abuse, with the relationship being stronger among female detainees. Mental health care therefore should be considered as a measure to reduce recidivism and that programs designed for male offenders may not be suitable for addressing women offenders.