National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women Newsletter
This is the fifth 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.
NRCJIW: A Year in Review
2012 was an eventful year for the Resource Center. We had the opportunity to provide training and technical assistance to – and learn from – a number of criminal justice agencies and community-based organizations who are striving to enhance their work with justice involved women. We wanted to take this opportunity to reflect upon the Resource Center's activities in 2012 and provide a preview of things to come in the new year.
To promote evidence-based, gender responsive practices, the NRCJIW made presentations and conducted workshops at several national conferences, conducted national webinars on critical topics and delivered training to practitioners from several jurisdictions.This included:
- Presenting to a national audience the Women Involved in the Criminal Justice System webinar (co-sponsored by the National Reentry Resource Center and the Criminal Justice Mental Health Consensus Project).
- Conducting a national webinar, Collaborative Case Work: Strategies and Approaches to Work Effectively with Justice Involved Women.
- Convening an experts' panel to identify emerging issues for women veterans in the criminal justice system (a practice brief on this topic will be released in 2013.)
- Conducting workshops and making presentations at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Conference: Meeting the Reentry Needs of Women, and at key professional organization annual conferences, including the American Probation and Parole Association, International Community Corrections Association, American Paroling Authorities International, and National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies.
- Conducting training events for the Denver Crime Prevention and Control Commission (Colorado), Women in Recovery Program staff and their court, probation and parole partners in Tulsa County, Oklahoma, and Eau Claire County's Alternatives to Incarcerating Mothers (AIM) Court (Wisconsin) to further their use of gender-informed risk and needs assessment tools.
- Providing training to more than 120 Volunteers of America, Dakotas' staff and their stakeholders on gender and trauma-informed practices.
To promote the development of a best practices statement on the use of restraints with pregnant women, the Resource Center facilitated – in cooperation with SAMHSA's National Center Promoting Alternatives to Seclusion and Restraint through Trauma Informed Practices – a meeting of the National Task Force on the Use of Restraints with Pregnant Women under Correctional Custody. This Task Force – which includes members from the corrections and medical communities – is currently developing a best practices statement on the use of restraints with pregnant women and girls in jails and prisons. The anticipated release date for these materials is late 2013.
To synthesize and disseminate evidence-based and gender responsive research and knowledge, the NRCJIW developed written documents and tools and maintained its website:
- The National Directory of Programs for Women with Criminal Justice Involvement, updated by the Resource Center and the Women's Prison Association, in partnership with the National Institute of Corrections, catalogues many programs for justice involved women throughout the country.
- Ten Truths That Matter When Working with Justice Involved Women highlights ten critical issues to consider when working with this population.
- Innovator Profiles, highlighting agencies and organizations that are doing groundbreaking work in the field of gender-informed criminal justice, are now available on our website.
- A Resources Section of our website houses all of the NRCJIW products and many additional resources by topic area.
- Ask NRCJIW is a feature of the NRCJIW website that allows users to pose questions and receive a written response on any topic related to justice-involved women. In 2012, we responded to more than 20 such requests from the field.
- The number of visitors and hits to our website more than doubled in 2012, which suggests that an increasing number of practitioners are utilizing this resource.
To promote the implementation of gender informed policy and management practices, the Resource Center conducted technical assistance events for organizations and agencies in 10 states. Some of these TA events included:
- The Rhode Island Department of Corrections received assistance in the development and implementation of a gender-informed disciplinary policy for women offenders housed in their state correctional facility.
- New York City's College and Community Fellowship and Providence House received assistance to enhance evidence-based, gender-informed approaches to their work.
- The South Carolina Department of Corrections received a Gender Informed Practices Assessment (GIPA) of their three female correctional facilities to assess their strengths and challenges in working with women offenders. The process will result in a gender-responsive strategic plan for the Department.
- In partnership with NIC, four state and local criminal justice agencies were referred to the National Institute of Corrections in order to fulfill their assistance needs. This included providing training on the Women's Risk Need Assessment to the Missouri Department of Corrections and the Denver Crime Prevention and Control Commission, and strategic planning assistance to leadership from the Washington State and Delaware Departments of Corrections.
Working with and learning from practitioners in the field is critical to our operations – our ability to continue to provide relevant, informed assistance to jurisdictions across the country depends on it. The willingness of practitioners to allow us into their "homes," to look closely at their practices, and to remain open to new possibilities, ensures that we can continue to fulfill the Resource Center's mission.
What's Ahead for the NRCJIW in 2013?
We are thrilled to announce that the NRCJIW will receive ongoing support from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance. We look forward to continuing our collaborative partnership with BJA and the National Institute of Corrections.
Visit the NRCJIW web site for announcements about new training, technical assistance and informational resources that will be offered in 2013, including:
- A document about the intersection of women and violence that will explore current research and emerging practices about how to work most effectively with this population.
- A fact sheet about women veterans involved in the criminal justice system.
- A monograph on trauma-informed approaches for criminal justice practitioners.
- A guide for corrections leadership on how to develop and implement gender-informed corrections policies. The guide will include a a specific focus on disciplinary and segregation policies.
- National webinars on a variety of topics of interest.
- Targeted onsite training and technical assistance.
To Take Advantage of the Resources Offered by NRCJIW…
Our best for a happy and healthy New Year! We look forward to working with you in 2013.