This is the third in a series of bimonthly newsletters from the National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women (NRCJIW).
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National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women

Resources Available on the NRCJIW Web Site

The NRCJIW web site ( maintains an extensive catalog of articles and other documents on a variety of topics related to women involved in the criminal justice system.  The topics include:

  • General Resources
  • Correctional Environments
  • Offender Management and Supervision
  • Classification, Assessment, and Case Management
  • Treatment, Interventions, and Services
  • Community Reentry
  • Quality Assurance and Evaluation
  • Critical Issues

To access resources in these areas, or to be connected to products produced by the NRCJIW or linked to its partners, visit


The NRCJIW continue to highlight the groundbreaking work of individuals and organizations working to improve system responses to justice involved women.  If you would like your organization's work to be profiled, send us an email to request consideration:

Coming Soon: Our Interview with the Drew House in New York City. The Drew House:

  • Is a supportive housing in a non-secure setting as an alternative to incarceration (ATI) for women with minor children.
  • Serves women with felony charges. Those charged with

violent felony offenses are eligible for consideration if the crime did not result in serious injury and the victim approves.

  • Accepts up to 3 minor children per family.
  • Provides case management and brief counseling provided on-site and
  • referrals for community health and supportive services.
  • Provides court monitoring by a third party (women are not monitored after completion of their mandate.)

Please visit the Innovators section of the NRCJIW web site in the coming weeks to learn more.

Have a Question About Women Involved in the Justice System?

NRCJIW has staff available to answer your questions about working with justice involved women.  A sample of previously asked questions can be found at  If you have a question you would like us to research and answer, visit

Current Opportunities For Technical Assistance: NIC and NRCJIW Offer Assistance on Developing Gender-Responsive Policies and Practices in Women's Facilities

The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) and the National Resource Center on Justice-Involved Women (NRCJIW) jointly announce the availability of technical assistance to assist state departments of corrections to develop sound gender-responsive policies and practices in their women's facilities. While assistance will be tailored to the needs of the requesting agency, it will generally follow the Gender-Informed Practice Assessment (GIPA) process, developed under a previous cooperative agreement from NIC. The GIPA is a multi-day process that involves: a) review of agency/facility reports, polices and related materials; b) interviews and focus groups with stakeholders, including administrators, supervisors, custody and non-custody staff, contractors, volunteers, and women offenders; c) observations of programs, services, and facility operations, and d) review of offender files. For more information, click here.

Technical Assistance from NRCJIW

The NRCJIW also offers training and technical assistance to government agencies and community and faith-based organizations to support their work with justice-involved women. The NRCJIW provides assistance and information to practitioners through a variety of means, including:

  • Making presentations at national and state criminal justice professional associations
  • Providing speakers for state and local conferences and training events
  • Conducting webinars on key topics
  • Facilitating strategic planning, leadership, policy development and other meetings
  • Producing and disseminating documents such as topical briefs, coaching packets, and "how-to's"
  • Maintaining a website (calendar of events, highlights of successful programs, profiles of leaders, emerging research, links and resources)
  • Responding to requests for information from the field.

For frequently asked questions about the assistance we offer, visit or Click here to download a TTA Request Form.

National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women Newsletter

August 2012

This is the third 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.

Now Available: Webinar Recording- Women Involved in the Criminal Justice System

This event, hosted by the National Reentry Resource Center, the Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project, and the National Resource Center on Justice-Involved Women, was recorded on July 12, 2012. Some key highlights from this session are detailed below.

  • In their early 30s;
  • Convicted of drug related crimes;
  • Undereducated/unskilled;
  • Living in poverty;
  • Unemployed;
  • Disproportionately women of color;
  • Mothers to minor children; and
  • Victims of physical and/or sexual abuse; and
  • Experiencing or have histories of substance abuse problems, health problems, and mental health issues.

(See, e.g., Bloom, Owen, and Covington, 2003).

Dr. Gehring also discussed the "Pathways Perspective" as a way to better understand how women come to be part of the criminal justice system (see for more information). This perspective suggests that women enter the criminal justice system through different pathways than men, examines the lives of women prior to incarceration, and looks at how their experiences shape pathways to offending. The perspective examines in particular:

  • Histories of Personal Abuse
  • Mental Illness
  • Substance Abuse
  • Economic and Social Marginality
  • Homelessness
  • Relationships

Building upon this more gender-specific method of understanding how and why women most frequently become involved in the justice system, Dr. Gehring and her contemporaries advocate for more gender-responsive justice responses, or those that acknowledge the realities of women's lives and how they may differ from men, including the pathways to offending and how relationships shape their lives.  Such practices suggest a focus on issues including violence, trauma resulting from abuse and neglect, relationships, and substance abuse, in order to craft responses to women that are comprehensive, and to promote their long-term healing and success.

Dr. Gehring shared the results from recent research studies conducted by the University of Cincinnati in partnership with the National Institute of Corrections on the risk and need factors for women. Their research found that gender-neutral assessments, like the LSI-R and the Northpointe COMPAS, were valid for women (i.e., predicted outcomes for women accurately).  However, their research also indicated that these gender-neutral assessments could be improved with the addition of a number of gender-responsive risk factors – such as depression, mental health, child abuse, housing safety, parental stress – and a number of strengths – such as family support, educational assets, and self-efficacy.  Incorporating these gender-responsive risk factors and strengths into assessment tools advances our understanding of the challenges and needs faced by justice-involved women.   

In sum, it was suggested during this session that gender-responsive policies, programs, and practices for women should be different from those targeted at males.  That is, practitioners should recognize women's pathways to criminality; the minimal danger women generally present to society; and the importance of relationships in women's lives.  In order to achieve this, successful gender-responsive policy and program implementation should minimally include: 

  • The adoption of gender-responsive assessment tools;
  • Implementation of comprehensive case planning approaches; and
  • Development and use of gender-responsive programming that target the needs of women.

Dr. Gehring provided several innovative examples of gender-responsive interventions that could be instructional for practitioners working with this population of women, including:  

Beyond Trauma– (see Covington, 2003): A three module cognitive-behavioral approach for women that focuses on helping women understand, identify, and heal from trauma experience such as childhood abuse, rape, battering, and other forms of interpersonal violence.

Forever Free– (see Hall, Prendergast, Wellisch, Patten, & Cao): a modified therapeutic community for incarcerated women that stresses substance abuse treatment and relapse prevention.

Helping Women Recover – (see Covington, 1999): a cognitive-behavioral program designed to treat women who are recovering from substance abuse and psychological trauma in correctional settings.

La Bodega de la Familia– (see Shapiro & Schwartz, 2001): a model designed to reduce the recidivism of substance abusing offenders by strengthening their social support networks through family case management. While this program was not designed specifically for female offenders it incorporates many of the gender-responsive principles in its techniques.

Moving On– (see Van Dieten, 1998): a gender-responsive cognitive-behavioral approach designed to build upon existing strengths and to enhance personal and community resources available to the offender.

Seeking Safety– (see Najavits, 1996):  a program designed to help substance-abusing female offenders who also suffer from PTSD attain safety and come to terms with substance abuse.

Women Offender Case Management Model– (see Orbis Partners, 2006, and National Institute of Corrections): a four-stage model designed to develop social capital by building upon strengths and developing a system of supportive resources.

To listen to the rest of the conversation on what the research tells us about women in the criminal justice system, listen to the webinar in its entirety at

Announcing: NRCJIW Webinar on Collaborative Case Work: Strategies and Approaches to Working Effectively with Justice Involved Women

This upcoming webinar will be convened on Monday, August 21, 2012, from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET.  In this session, participants will receive a brief overview of an evidence-based and gender-informed approach to case management, the National Institute of Corrections' Women Offender Case Management Model (WOCMM), as well as more in-depth information on the practical application of gender-informed approaches. Practitioners–who have expertise in implementing evidence-based and gender-informed practices with females under correctional supervision in various settings–will share their strategies and skill sets for effectively working with women on their caseloads.   

To register to attend this event, click here.

Announcing: NIC Satellite/Web Broadcast on "Health, Justice, Women: Transforming Systems - Changing Lives"

Register today for NIC's Tuesday, August 15, 2012 (12-3 p.m. ET) satellite/internet broadcast "Health, Justice, Women: Transforming Systems - Changing Lives". More information and registration details, including a downloadable flyer, are available at this link.


Copyright © 2012 National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women , All rights reserved.
National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women is funded in whole or in part through a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this newsletter (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).
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