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.
Now Available from NRCJIW: Jail Tip Sheets
A series of eight “Jail Tip Sheets” on critical topics facing jails were developed by the NRCJIW. The goal of the tip sheets is to facilitate the implementation of gender-informed approaches with women in jail settings. These resources were developed in response to recommendations from participants at the Women in Jails Summit held in October, 2014. During the summit, jail practitioners articulated a need for concise resources and tools that addressed their specific concerns regarding the management of women in jail settings, and provided links to additional resources. The tip sheet series includes:
- Being Gender-Responsive and Trauma-Informed is Just Good Correctional Practice
- Take Steps to be More Trauma-Informed
- Review Discipline Policies and Practices
- Manage Women’s Complex Behaviors
- Use Gender-Responsive Assessment Tools
- Assess Women’s Healthcare Needs
- Develop Community Partnerships
- Support Women’s Successful Transition and Reentry from Jails
To access these tip sheets and additional resources, visit: http://cjinvolvedwomen.org/jail-tip-sheets/
National Reentry Week: A Focus on Women
The U.S. Department of Justice has taken major steps to make our criminal justice system more fair, more efficient, and more effective at reducing recidivism and helping formerly incarcerated individuals contribute to their communities. An important part of that task is preparing those who have paid their debt to society for substantive opportunities beyond the prison gates, and addressing obstacles to successful reentry that too many returning citizens encounter. To highlight these issues, April 24-30, 2016 has been designated by DOJ as National Reentry Week.
To commemorate National Reentry Week, the National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women (NRCJIW) would like to take this opportunity to focus on one of the key gender responsive principles identified in the National Institute of Corrections’ seminal guide on women, Gender-Responsive Strategies: Research, Practice, and Guiding Principles for Women Offenders: Establish a system of reentry and community supervision with comprehensive and collaborative services.
To be successful in the community, women leaving prison must: stay clean and sober, return to a primary caretaker role for their children, earn a livable wage, obtain reliable childcare and transportation, and find safe and sober housing for themselves and for their children. This must occur while meeting the requirements of community supervision and additional demands of other public agencies (e.g., child welfare). Furthermore, many women must find care for chronic health conditions such as HIV. To minimize the likelihood that women returning home will be overwhelmed by the requirements of multiple service agencies, essential services must be readily available and well-coordinated.
To assist women to be successful, corrections professionals should consider the following:
- Address women’s specific risk factors (e.g., abuse/victimization, mental health, substance abuse, parenting issues and self-esteem) before, during, and after reentry.
- Partner with community organizations who provide substance abuse, public health, employment, child welfare, and housing services.
- Implement a gender responsive case management approach that attends to women’s needs in a holistic way, such as the Collaborative Case Work Model, formerly known as the Women Offender Case Management Model (WOCMM).
- Implement gender responsive interventions or programs that attend to women’s unique needs.
The importance of providing services and using approaches specifically targeted to justice involved women cannot be overstated. Consider that in a recent meta-analysis (of 37 studies and almost 22,000 women offenders), researchers found that:
- women who participated in gender responsive correctional interventions had 22% to 35% greater odds of community success than non-participants, and
- high fidelity women’s programs are more effective for women than high fidelity, evidence based, gender neutral programs (i.e., programs designed for men).
Women’s successful reentry to their communities, as well as the well-being of their children and families is at stake.
For more information on women and reentry, see Reentry Considerations for Women Offenders or visit NRCJIW’s resource library: http://cjinvolvedwomen.org/community-reentry/
Upcoming NIC Training Opportunity: Developing an Agency-Wide Approach
NIC is soliciting applications for Justice Involved Women: Developing an Agency-Wide Approach. This training event is designed to assist agencies in using evidence based gender-informed research and knowledge to make policy-driven and systemic changes to improve outcomes for women offenders. This event will be held at the NIC training academy in Aurora, Colorado from August 9-11, 2016.
The training is offered in a blended format for teams of 3-4 individuals. There are three sequential phases--online learning, face-to-face training and follow up coaching. Through blended learning delivery this 36-hour program leads participant teams through strategic planning to develop an agency plan that provides coordination and direction to manage women offenders effectively. The team members should be staff with policymaking, and decision-making authority in areas such as oversight of women’s corrections institutions, community corrections programs, leadership roles in critical areas such as medical/mental health, classification, risk and need reducing programs and re-entry.
Read more and register for the program here. Applications are due by May 16, 2016.
Working with Female Offenders- What Does Science Tell Us?
Authored by Kimberly Gentry Sperber, Ph.D., this slide presentation provides an overview on the current science around female offenders highlighting both the gender-neutral Evidence-Based Practices (EBP) and the gender informed research specific to justice involved women. Questions such as: “Does the LSI-R work for women and what studies demonstrate results?” are asked and answered.
Sections of the presentation include:
- Setting the stage: Statistics on women under correctional supervision
- So where do we start: Characteristics of female offenders
- Applying the Traditional Model to Females: Risk, Need, Responsivity and Treatment (RNRT) for women
For additional resources on Justice-Involved Women from NIC, visit Women Offenders.
Tarrant County, TX Achieves Dramatic Results for High-Risk Women
Unemployment, substance use, and mental health needs are just some of the barriers to successful reentry from incarceration that the women in Tarrant County Jail’s Intensive Day Treatment (IDT) program for substance use are facing. Despite these challenges, a group of 70 of those women who enrolled in Family Pathfinders’ adult reentry mentoring pilot program recidivated at a much lower rate than anticipated. Although women in Tarrant County’s IDT program historically recidivate at a rate of 50 percent or higher, less than 15 percent of women enrolled in the mentoring pilot program reoffended over a two-year period. To read more about this promising initiative, click here.
The Double Imprisonment of Battered Women Who Are Incarcerated
From End Domestic Abuse WI, this Coalition Chronicles newsletter issue focuses on women who are “doubly imprisoned: first, by trauma from the violence they have suffered, and second, by the iron bars and razor wire fences that surround them daily.” This issue contains excerpts from articles on research and best practices in the field, stories from survivors of abuse and imprisonment, and resources for reentry.
Articles in the issue include:
- Women’s Experiences of Abuse as Risk Factors for Incarceration
- Best Practice Toolkit for Working with Domestic Violence Survivors with Criminal Histories
- Victimization, Mental Illness, and Incarceration: How They Intersect
- Domestic Violence and Mental Health Problems
- Class, Culture, Gender, Race... Some characteristics of those who are sentenced to prison
- And more...
Read the full issue.