In 2008, the NRCJIW, in collaboration with the National Institute of Corrections, developed the Gender-Informed Practice Assessment (GIPA) to expand the use of gender and evidence-based practices in correctional facilities for women. The GIPA represents a compilation of the research and promising practices across multiple facets of facility management and operations with women in custody. The GIPA protocol is conducted on-site by a team of external evaluators and provides a baseline measure of how closely agency policies and practices align with the prevailing research.
The NRCJIW is currently working with CORE Associates to complete a GIPA in Washington State. NRCJIW staff are also working with the Bureau of Prisons to conduct a GIPA in a Federal Correctional Institution for Women.
The GIPA instrument assesses policies and practices across twelve domains:
- Leadership and Philosophy
- External Support
- Management and Operations
- Staffing and Training
- Facility Culture
- Offender Management (Sanctions and Discipline)
- Assessment and Classification
- Case and Transitional Planning
- Research-Based Program Areas
- Quality Assurance and Evaluation
The GIPA assessment relies on a multi-method approach that includes:
- Staff Interviews
- Focus Groups (of staff and women)
- Surveys (of staff and women)
- Document Review
NRCJIW’s work on this project includes:
- Preparing for the assessment by working with the facility to identify an implementation team to assist with logistics and developing an on-site schedule
- Conducting a multi-day site visit, and completing findings and scores within the GIPA
- Contributing to a report that identifies strengths, challenges, and opportunities, and that identifies priority targets that can be integrated into a strategic plan
- Assisting with the development of a GIPA strategic plan
The NRCJIW has helped to facilitate the GIPA in seven states. Sites that have implemented this assessment have reported the following benefits: the adoption of actuarial assessments that include the pathways research on women; an increase in programs and services demonstrated to decrease recidivism; a reduction in disciplinary reports; and improved safety and interactions between staff and women in custody.