National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women Newsletter
The NRCJIW provides guidance and support to justice professionals – and promotes evidence-based, gender-responsive policies and practices – to reduce the number and improve the outcomes of women involved in the criminal justice system.
New Publication Available from the NRCJIW: Best Practices in the Use of Restraints with Pregnant Women and Girls under Correctional Custody
This exciting new resource provides guidance to organizations interested in enhancing policies and practices that maximize safety and minimize risk for pregnant women and girls, their fetuses/newborns, and correctional and medical staff.
Historically, policies regarding the use of restraints were designed to ensure the safety and security of staff and inmates in correctional institutions with predominantly male population; however, the justice involved population is shifting to include women and girls in growing numbers. Currently, there are approximately 209,000 women held in federal, state and local facilities nationally. Almost three-quarters of them are mothers (a 122 percent increase since 1991); and three to five percent of them report being pregnant at the time of admission or intake to a correctional facility. The Best Practices Statement was developed in response to a growing concern about how to best respond to the unique health needs of pregnant women and girls in correctional settings.
These recommendations emphasize the need for the collaborative development (between correctional leaders and medical staff) of written policies and procedures on the use of restraints with pregnant women and girls. Its principles emphasize the need to balance the safety, health, and well-being of pregnant women and their fetuses/newborns with other parties, such as corrections and medical staff. Among the five principles outlined in the best practices statement is that the use of restraints on pregnant women and girls be limited to absolute necessity.
Best Practices in the Use of Restraints with Pregnant Women and Girls under Correctional Custody is the culmination of several years' investment by the National Task Force on the Use of Restraints with Pregnant Women under Correctional Custody. The work of the Task Force was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, under the stewardship of the Center for Effective Public Policy. The development of this document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). It was prepared and supported by the by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), Health and Human Services Department, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Center for Trauma-Informed Care (NCTIC) and the NRCJIW.
New Resource from the NRCJIW: Using Trauma-Informed Practices to Enhance Safety and Security in Women's Correctional Facilities
One of the most common experiences shared by women in correctional facilities is a history of trauma, which for many can be extensive. Research from multiple disciplines has shown that the effects of trauma can be significant and long lasting. Trauma can play a role in the onset of a woman's criminal behavior, is often linked to substance abuse and mental health challenges, and may explain some of the behaviors she displays while incarcerated.
This document provides a brief overview of trauma and its effects on women offenders, and specifically defines trauma-informed practices for women's correctional facilities. It also provides key actions that correctional administrators, managers, and staff can take to better align their operational practices with the research on trauma. Click here to download this new publication.
Register Now for the Free NRCJIW Webinar "When Women Use Violence: Reasons, Circumstances and Promising Interventions"
This webinar will be convened on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. EDT.
When compared to men, the majority of justice-involved women are convicted of offenses that are relatively minor in severity (e.g., non-violent and drug-related offenses). However, a small percentage of women are charged with violent crimes, including intimate partner abuse. The response in many jurisdictions is to treat all individuals who have committed violent offenses, regardless of gender and circumstance, with the same intervention programs.
In this webinar, Dr. Marilyn Van Dieten, Senior Partner with Orbis Partners, Inc., will explore the emerging research that suggests that the experience and use of violence varies for men and women and that a gender-informed approach is warranted. A look at personal factors as well as the role of context, culture, and victimization among women charged with intimate partner abuse and other violent crimes will also be examined.
Specifically, webinar participants will learn about:
Participation is limited to the first 200 registrants. To register to attend this webinar, click here.
- Risk and other factors linked to women's violence
- The importance of context in understanding the use of violence among women
- Screening and assessment tools that have been validated with women
- Promising gender-responsive interventions and services
- Resources available from the NRCJIW and the National Institute of Corrections (NIC)
NRCJIW Webinar on Applying Trauma-Informed Practices to Criminal Justice Settings to Achieve Positive Outcomes for Justice-Involved Women
This webinar was convened on April 22, 2014.
- Alyssa Benedict, CORE Associates, LLC
- Joan Gillece, SAMHSA's National Center for Trauma-Informed Care (NCTIC)
- Becki Ney, National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women (NRCJIW)
Participants learned about practical evidence-based and gender-informed techniques that they can employ to more effectively manage women offenders, an overwhelming number of whom are trauma survivors. Participants also learned about trauma-informed communication strategies, creating safety and security through trauma-informed practice, and caretaking approaches that can enhance their skills when working with women offenders.
At the conclusion of the webinar, participants:
- Had gained a greater understanding of the effects of trauma and how they can work more effectively with justice-involved women.
- Could articulate some of the techniques and skills for working with trauma survivors that can be used in a variety of correctional settings.
- Were able to identify some appropriate non-verbal and verbal responses to trauma disclosure from women offenders.
- Knew how to locate and access additional resources provided by the NRCJIW and NIC.
To listen to a recording of this webinar, download session materials, and access links to additional information and resources on this topic, visit the NRCJIW web site after mid-May, 2014.
Webinar Offered by the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women- "Reentering and Reuniting: Incarcerated Survivors of Battering and their Children"
This webinar will be offered by the NCDBW on Monday, May 19, 2014 from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. EDT.
This session is one in a series about when survivors reenter their communities after jail or prison. All people reentering their communities after spending time in jail or prison face numerous challenges, but for those people who have children, they may face many additional difficulties. And when that parent is a survivor of battering, her relationship with her children may be extremely complicated. In this webinar, Sandra Barnhill, an attorney and prisoners' rights activist, will offer practical steps and actions women in the reentry process can take to strengthen their efforts to reunite with their children.
When entering prison, survivors who have children have to make the difficult and emotional decision about who will care for their children while they are in custody. Placement options can include family members, other adults not related to the survivor, or the foster care system. This webinar will examine these possible placement options and the ramifications of each for the children and the incarcerated mother. It will also outline steps incarcerated survivors can take to plan for their reunification with their children while in custody and post-release. The webinar is free of charge. Please click here to register.
In the News: Mothers Raising Babies Behind Bars
The ABC news program "Nightline" recently profiled families participating in a program for incarcerated mothers and their children at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in Bedford Hills, New York.