National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women Newsletter
This is the seventh in a series of bimonthly newsletters from the National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women (NRCJIW). 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.
Two New NRCJIW Innovators: Off the Streets and Demeter House
Off the Streets
Off the StreetsSM (OTS) assists women involved in prostitution move towards safety, recovery, empowerment, and community reintegration by providing a safe, welcoming, and non-judgmental environment for women who are involved in prostitution. Prostitution affects not only women and their families, but also affects community environment, safety, and appeal. OTS provides opportunities for women to become positive, productive members of the community.
OTS works with any woman who has experienced prostitution and wants to make life changes. The program accepts referrals from many sources including self-referrals, criminal justice system referrals, and other treatment programs. The program helps women to explore positive life changes and focuses on areas including emergency needs, housing, medical care, mental health, substance abuse, education, and employment. Women participate in daily education and support groups that assist them in their recovery and empowerment process and address topics such as life skills, health and well-being, relationships, and self-esteem. Referrals are also made to community resources as needed.
Peer staff work with clients to coordinate the services dictated by their recovery plan. All services are coordinated on an individual basis to fit each woman's unique needs. Clients participate in daily services on site, which help foster a sense of community and self-esteem. These may include journaling, employment and life coaching, and a knitting circle. OTS staff also make referrals to other community-based programs for to meet a variety of needs (e.g. housing, mental health, substance abuse, education, etc.).
Each woman makes progress in her recovery at her own pace. If a woman is referred by the Court or Probation, she may be required to participate in a specified amount of services. However, the program will work with women as long as needed, with most women participating in the program for four to six months and some up to one year. The program serves up to 25 participants at one time, with additional women receiving services through the OTS continuing care program.
Off the StreetsSM is the recipient of several awards, and is recognized nationally as one of the few programs in the country to address this population of women.
To read more about Off the Streets and a full interview with Mary Carol Melton, Program Director, visit the Innovators section of our web site, click here.
Demeter House is an innovative, nationally-accredited, residential substance abuse center located in Arlington, Virginia that serves women in a gender-specific setting that is comfortable and feels like home. The program is designed not only to break the cycle of addiction, but also to empower women to re-enter the community as responsible citizens. Demeter House is a program of Phoenix House, an independent nonprofit organization that is the nation's leading not for profit provider of alcohol and drug abuse treatment and prevention services, operating more than 123 programs in ten states.
Demeter House offers comprehensive and professional services for women, women with children, and women who are pregnant in residential settings. Mothers entering treatment may bring one child with them. The program offers a flexible length of stay and a phased treatment regimen of individual, group, and family counseling sessions that are woman-centered and sensitive to the special needs of women who have experienced past traumas. The addiction counselors at Demeter House, as well as their medical and psychiatric staff, use a cognitive-behavioral, 12-step approach, including medication management and medication-assisted treatment, to address a wide range of substance abuse and mental health problems.
Demeter House provides evaluations, medical and psychiatric care for the women in treatment and ensures that linkages to prenatal and postnatal care, well-baby check-ups, and immunizations are obtained for the children in the community. While their mothers are in treatment, children are cared for on-site in a nurturing environment. In addition to residential programming, Phoenix House may also provide outpatient services.
All programs at Demeter House are Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)-accredited and use evidence-based cognitive behavioral, psycho-educational, and motivational enhancement practices to promote and support recovery and an enhanced quality of life. Residents follow individualized treatment plans that are designed to meet their specific needs, and treatment length is determined by continuous case review. Additional services may include medical and mental health care; case management; supervised recreational activities. Women (and her family members where appropriate) participate in an individual assessment and evaluation to determine treatment needs and appropriate levels of care.
To read more about Demeter House and a full interview with Deborah Taylor, Senior Vice President and Regional Director, Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic, click here.
Train the Trainers Event: Women's Risk Needs Assessment
The University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute will offer a Women's Risk/Needs Assessment training for trainers event. This 40-hour training program will train participants in the administration of the Women's Risk Needs Assessment and enable participants to use the assessment with female clients under their agency's supervision. Participants will also be approved to deliver the WRNA training at their agency to facilitate internal training needs.
The training encompasses five modules including evidence-based practices, gender-responsive principles and practice, administration and scoring of the assessment, interviewing and assessment skills, and assessment-driven case planning. Participants will then have the opportunity to practice the skills and material they have learned during the training. At the end of the training participants must pass an exam testing their knowledge on the training materials to be approved to train on the assessment.
The training will take place at the University of Cincinnati June 10-14, 2013 and will run daily from 9:00 am-5:00 pm.
The training is being offered to participants for a fee of $1250. Trainees will also be required to cover their own travel expenses. Individuals must submit an application to be considered for the training.
To apply for the training by the deadline of May 1, click here.
Training Available: Trauma Informed Personnel Improve Criminal Justice Responses
Policy Research Associates is offering a training program for criminal justice professionals entitled How Being Trauma-Informed Improves Criminal Justice Responses. The goals of this training program is to:
- Increase understanding of trauma,
- Create an awareness of the impact of trauma on behavior, and
- Develop trauma-informed responses.
Trauma-informed criminal justice responses can help to avoid re-traumatizing individuals, and thereby increase safety for all, decrease recidivism, and promote and support recovery of justice-involved women and men with serious mental illness. For more information about the training offered, click here.
Register for the15th Bi-Annual Adult and Juvenile Female Offenders (AJFO) Conference
Registration is now open for the AJFO conference which will take place October 6-10, 2013 in Portland, Maine. To register, visit: http://ajfo.org/index.htm
New Resource: The Changing Racial Dynamics of Women's Incarceration
From 2000 to 2009, there was a dramatic shift in the racial composition of the women's prison population. In 2000, African American women were incarcerated at 6 times the rate of white women. By 2009, that disparity had dropped by half, to less than three times the white rate. The factors contributing to these changes include: sharply reduced incarceration of African American women for drug offenses in some states; declining rates of arrest of black women for violent, property, and drug offenses; and, cumulative social disadvantages that are increasingly affecting less educated white women. Recommendations for addressing these issues include conducting state-based analyses of racial disparity, enacting proactive racial impact statement legislation, and engaging practitioners in projects to reduce disparities in local jurisdictions. Read the full report here.