National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women Newsletter
The National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women (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.
2016: The Year in Review
A few of the resources we produced included a short video about justice involved women, their pathways to crime, and their very specific needs.
We have also designed a media communications toolkit to provide practitioners with information, resources and tools to help them communicate effectively with others regarding how we achieve better outcomes with women at all stages of the criminal justice system, and a helpful infographic that serves as a primer on some of the key issues that impact women in the justice system. It is our hope that these resources can be shared in presentations and on social media as a way to help engage and educate external audiences about justice-involved women.
Two additional important resources for the field that were developed by the NRCJIW and its partners also deserve mention:
A few additional highlights from our work in 2016 include:
- With the National Institute of Corrections, we conducted the first ever training to address to gender responsive discipline and sanctions in women’s correctional facilities (see Gender Responsive Discipline and Sanctions Policy Guide for Women’s Facilities). Six teams from CO, IL, IA, NC, AL and ME participated in this three and a half day training. Each state plans to make improvements to how they respond to the range of women’s behaviors. Another training is planned for 2017. An announcement about the training, eligibility and selection criteria will be forthcoming from NIC and posted on the NRCJIW website later in 2017.
- Two Gender Informed Practice Assessments (GIPA) were conducted by the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and the Illinois Department of Corrections. Multiple staff from various levels within each agency participated in this multi-day, in-depth assessment of their women’s facilities. The end result of this assessment was the development of a detailed plan of action for making improvements in their women’s facilities to assure greater safety and security, and more successful outcomes with the women.
- With the American Jail Association, we disseminated eight Jail Tip Sheets to every jail in the country. Topics included the use of gender responsive assessments, trauma informed care, the use of restraints, building community partnerships, managing complex behaviors, healthcare needs, discipline and sanctions and reentry considerations.
- In November, with the Center for Court Innovation, we conducted a webinar on the intersection between prostitution, human trafficking, and victimization among justice involved women. The webinar recording and resource materials are available on the NRCJIW website here.
As 2016 draws to a close, I want to say thank you to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance for their ongoing support of the resource center and also to our federal partner, the National Institute of Corrections. I am also deeply appreciative of the NRCJIW’s partners - CORE Associates, the Moss Group, Orbis Partners, University of Cincinnati, and the Women’s Prison Association - who are tireless in their work to support professionals working with justice involved women. Lastly, I want to send out a special thanks to my colleagues at the Center for Effective Public Policy who make the NRCJIW the wonderful resource that it is.
My best to all for a happy holiday season. Please continue to visit our website and let us hear from you in 2017.
-Becki Ney, NRCJIW Project Director
Update: Pregnancy in Prison Statistics (PIPS) Project
Dr. Carolyn Sufrin, OB-GYN at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine founded the Pregnancy in Prison Statistics (PIPS) Project, which launched in May 2016. Dr. Sufrin and her research team developed a reporting system for prisons and jails across the U.S. to report data such as how many pregnant women are admitted as well as maternal and neonatal deaths. Optional data on pregnancy conditions and infant information include occurrence of substance use disorder, requests for abortion and infant placement. Currently 21 state department of correction facilities, six jails and three juvenile facilities participate in the project.
Dr. Sufrin recently presented on the preliminary findings at annual meetings of the American Correctional Association and the American Public Health Association: After three months of data, there were 173 live births overall, 19 miscarriages and six abortions. While Dr. Sufrin is hesitant to make any conclusions right now, she's excited about the data so far and what could come after a year of tracking. Pregnant incarcerated women and the PIPS project will be the focus of a number of future publications from John's Hopkins and the Bureau of Justice Statistics in the coming year. See this news article for more information about the project.
Book Available for Pre-Order: Jailcare: Finding the Safety Net for Women behind Bars
In her upcoming book, Dr. Carolyn Sufrin, a medical anthropologist and an obstetrician-gynecologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, shares the experiences of pregnant women in jails and the jail staff and health providers who care for them. The author explores how care and maternal identify emerge within jails and argues that - when understood in the context of the poverty, addiction, violence, and racial oppression that characterizes women’s lives and their reproduction - jail can become a safety net for women on the margins of society.
From Washington State Corrections Center for Women: Quilts and Infant Clothes Donated to Incarcerated Mothers in Thailand
A group of approximately 15 inmates from Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) in Gig Harbor recently sent handmade quilts and decorated onesies to mothers inside Thailand prisons. The group, named the Sisters of Charity, make items for social welfare organizations and donates to about 25 charities a year.
The Sisters of Charity's efforts are in support of the "Bangkok Rules," a minimum standard of treatment for female inmates that supplements guidelines set forth by the United Nations. Read more...