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.
2015: The Year in Review
Is it just me or have justice involved women been in the news a lot this year? I have read numerous stories about incarcerated women this year – their lived experiences and their stories. These stories have appeared in blogs, newspapers, television documentaries, YouTube videos, TED Talks, and other media outlets.
As for the National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women: I like to think we have made a small contribution to this national landscape. In the past year, we have continued to provide a range of resources for practitioners and professionals working with justice involved women and to extend our reach into new topic areas. We redesigned our website to include multi-media and make it more “device-friendly”. Early in 2015, we disseminated our first comprehensive policy guide – Gender Responsive Discipline and Sanctions Policy Guide for Women’s Facilities – a “how to” guide for women’s facilities interested in addressing discipline and sanctions in their facilities. We piloted the pretrial Inventory of Needs (ION) in two local jurisdictions and drafted a series of eight Jail Tip Sheets, which will be disseminated to jails across the country in early 2016, courtesy of the American Jail Association. We continued to advocate for best practices with respect to the use (or “non-use”) of restraints on pregnant women, an issue that has received much national attention this year. We joined forces with the American Psychological Association, who have drafted their own statement on this topic and are working with key Congressional leaders to introduce a bill prohibiting the use of restraints on pregnant women. Along with the National Institute of Corrections, we are supporting the Johns Hopkins University’s Pregnancy In Prison Statistics (PIPS) Project to collect more accurate data about the prevalence and birth outcomes of pregnant women in jails and prisons – data that is sorely needed, given that the last national survey about justice involved pregnant women was conducted over a decade ago. In October, the NRCJIW joined several hundred attendees at the Adult and Juvenile Female Offender Conference in Hartford, CT, where we were inspired by the stories of women and girls with lived experiences and heard many amazing practitioners, researchers, and advocates speak about their work with justice involved women from around the country.
All in all, it has been a busy and inspiring year to be involved in this work. As 2015 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 work!
My best to all for a happy holiday season. Please continue to visit our website and let us hear from you in 2016.
-Becki Ney, NRCJIW Project Director
NRCJIW Webinar Recording and Materials Now Available: Implementing Policies and Practices on the Non-Use of Restraints with Incarcerated Pregnant Women
In 2013, the National Task Force on the Use of Restraints with Pregnant Women under Correctional Custody developed a best practices statement to articulate a set of principles and recommendations to guide agencies in the development of local policy and practice. During this webinar, held on December 14, 2015, presenters:
- Described the health risks of using restraints on pregnant women.
- Reviewed the core principles and recommendations for operational practice outlined in the best practices statement.
- Provided an update on the current status of laws, policies, and practices to assure that pregnant women are not restrained
- Discussed current and future reform efforts in regards to not restraining pregnant women in custody.
Representatives from the corrections and medical communities shared their experiences and challenges of implementing policies and practices related to not restraining this small but significant subset of incarcerated women.
Click here to listen to a recorded version or click here to access the presentation slides.
NIC Training Opportunity: Being Gender Responsive: Effective Operations and Management of Women's Prisons
NIC is seeking applications for its Operational Practices in the Management of Women’s Prisons course, targeted to Wardens, Deputy Wardens, and Senior Supervisors of Women's Prisons. This course provides guidance on how to tailor correctional operations to the unique medical, social, and legal needs of women inmates and covers effective communication techniques with this population.
Participants will complete a curriculum focused on contemporary research, which supports a management/operational style that recognizes gender differences. Module topics may include legal issues, communication, women’s pathways to prison, gender-responsive principles, and staff sexual misconduct. The course also covers how management styles for handling women in some areas may be different.
The deadline to apply is February 1, 2016. For more information click here.
How Do Women’s Incarceration Rates in the U.S. Compare to the Rest of the World?
The Prison Policy Initiative reports that the United States incarcerates women at a rate 8 to 25 times higher than our allied countries in the North American Treaty Organization (NATO).
In fact – with the exception of Thailand and the U.S. itself – the top 44 jurisdictions throughout the world with the highest rate of incarcerating women are individual American states, with West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Alabama topping the list. To read more, click here.
New Fact Sheet on Incarcerated Women and Girls in the U.S.
Although men in prison vastly outnumber the number of women, the rate of growth for female imprisonment has outpaced men by more than 50% between 1980 and 2014. There are 1.2 million women under the supervision of the criminal justice system. Read more of the latest statistics on incarcerated women in this fact sheet from The Sentencing Project.
It’s Not Too Late to Participate in Pregnancy in Prison Statistics (PIPS)
Want to help improve services for pregnant women in custody? Johns Hopkins University researchers are still seeking jails and prisons to participate in a new research project to report information on pregnancy outcomes in women’s facilities nationwide.
If you are interested in learning more or in participating, please contact Dr. Carolyn Sufrin: firstname.lastname@example.org.