In this qualitative study, 94 women who were or had been in prison were interviewed. Their life stories were analyzed in order to answer the question: why women commit crime and why they give up crime? From the analysis of the thematic content were found three main categories: gender violence, affective bonds and care. It was found that having suffered gender violence can be an explanatory factor of the crime, the affective bonds and the care of the other can be motivating factors towards the crime and towards the abandonment of the same. The findings suggest that women have been incarcerated since before entering prison.