National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women Newsletter
This is the second 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 promote 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: Ten Truths That Matter When Working With Justice Involved Women
The NRCJIW is pleased to announce the availability of two new documents that review ten truths about justice involved women—gleaned from the research over the last few decades—that must be recognized if we are to successfully manage this population, achieve greater reductions in recidivism, and improve public safety outcomes. Understanding these truths can lead criminal justice policymakers and practitioners to be more aware of gender differences and take steps to enhance their approaches to managing justice involved women. The "top ten truths" are:
Women are a fast-growing criminal justice population, yet they pose a lower public safety risk than men.
Women follow unique pathways into crime and present risk factors that signal different intervention needs.
- Women's engagement in criminal behavior is often related to their relationships, connections, and disconnections with others.
- Traditional criminal justice policies and practices have largely been developed through the lens of managing men, not women.
- Justice involved women often report histories of sexual victimization and trauma, and continue to be vulnerable to victimization within correctional settings.
- Traditional prison classification systems tend to result in unreliable custody designations for incarcerated women.
- Gender responsive assessment tools can enhance case management efforts with justice involved women.
- Women are more likely to respond favorably when criminal justice staff adhere to evidence-based, gender responsive principles.
- Incarceration and reentry are particularly challenging for justice involved mothers of minor children.
- The costs of overly involving women in the criminal justice system are high.
View the Executive Summary and/or Research Brief versions of these documents by clicking on the links below:
Executive Summary, Ten Truths That Matter When Working With Justice Involved Women
Research Brief, Ten Truths That Matter When Working With Justice Involved Women
In the News
Now Available: Find Help for Women in Your State
The Women's Prison Association (WPA), with the support of the National Institute of Corrections and the National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women, has recently updated this national database of programs for women. Click Find Help in Your State to seek support in your jurisdiction.
New Publication: Improving Access to Services for Female Offenders Returning to the Community
In a single decade — 1999 to 2009 — the number of adult women incarcerated in U.S. prisons grew by 25 percent. Adult women now make up about 7 percent of the total inmate population, and they face many challenges upon release from prison. For example, women experience barriers to obtaining housing, greater difficulty in obtaining and sustaining employment, less family support, and more substance abuse than men. The programming offered to women while incarcerated, however, is usually modeled after the programs for male prisoners. As a group, women are often overlooked with regard to re-entry programming, and results from the recent evaluation of the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) showed that adult females reported a significantly higher need for services than men. This finding highlights a thread running through the re-entry literature that suggests a disconnect between the services individuals need to facilitate a successful re-entry into their community and the services they receive. Through SVORI, funding was provided to state and local jurisdictions to develop re-entry strategies for offenders returning to their communities. NIJ funded a multi-year, multisite evaluation of SVORI to examine the effect its programs had on access to re-entry services and programs and on housing, education, employment and criminal behavior. This evaluation, one of the largest NIJ-funded evaluations to date, included a sample of 357 adult females in 11 states who were returning to their communities. These women are the focus of this article, which can be accessed by clicking here.
New Resource: University of Pennsylvania Program on Documentaries and the Law Presents "Mothers in Prison: The Impact of Incarceration on Motherhood"
"Mothers in Prison" looks at the impact of incarceration on motherhood. Mothers confined in jails and prisons encounter numerous difficulties, including limited access to a nutritious diet and adequate prenatal care during pregnancy, childbirth while shackled, the threat of losing permanent custody of one's children, and limited opportunities for visitation with them.
View the documentary here.
New Publication Available: Women and Girls in the Criminal Justice System
Policy Issues and Practice Strategies
This authoritative guide from the editor of Women, Girls & Criminal Justice distills the best thinking of leading practitioners and researchers—all in a convenient single resource that puts a wealth of information within easy reach. It highlights:
- Gender-specific classification and risk assessment tools
- Alternatives to incarceration
- Effective programs for incarcerated mothers--and their children
- Juvenile justice approaches and programs that work best with girls
- Drug treatment issues for women offenders
- Health and mental health care concerns
- Ideas for re-entry and aftercare
For more information about this important resource, see http://www.civicresearchinstitute.com/wgc_book.html
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 http://cjinvolvedwomen.org/targeted-training-and-technical-assistance-program or Click here to download a TTA Request Form.