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!
The NRCJIW has added a number of new resources to its website in recent months, including an article on how correctional facility staff and community providers can build and maintain effective partnerships in the service of justice involved women, and a practice brief that offers guidance on working with women during the critical period of transition and reentry.
To see all of the latest resources available from NRCJIW, visit http://cjinvolvedwomen.org/resources/
Upcoming Webinar: The Intersection between Prostitution, Human Trafficking, and Victimization Among Justice Involved Women
It is estimated that 90% percent of justice involved women have experienced some form of victimization in their lifetime. As a result of this trauma, women may engage in behaviors that are criminalized, such as drug use or prostitution, and may be less commonly seen as “victims” by the justice system. What’s more, their vulnerability may expose them to further victimization, trauma, and exploitation — such as human trafficking.
The NRCJIW, in partnership with the Center for Court Innovation, will conduct a webinar on November 1 to explore the nexus between prostitution, human trafficking, and victimization among justice involved women. The webinar will discuss strategies that justice system stakeholders can take to identify women who may be victims of exploitation and human trafficking, address their needs, and improve their response to these women.
Register now for this informative webinar to take place on Tuesday, November 1 from 2:00 – 3:30 pm Eastern.
Reentry Considerations for Justice Involved Women
In order to enhance outcomes with justice involved women, it is imperative that professionals understand the unique needs of women during transition or reentry to the community from incarceration. This practice brief provides an overview of how women are an important but distinct criminal justice population, reviews operational principles for and key issues related to the management of women, and offers concrete strategies for practitioners who wish to enhance their reentry processes for women. Indicators for implementing gender informed, evidence based practices in correctional facilities and in community settings are provided.
Building Effective Correctional Facility-Community Provider Partnerships for the Benefit of Justice Involved Women: Lessons Learned
Collaboration between corrections and community providers is vital for facilitating positive outcomes with women while in custody, during the transition and reentry phase, and once women return to their communities post-release. Recognizing the unique and important roles of both corrections and community providers, and the tensions that naturally exist as a result, how does one begin to build an effective partnership that addresses the concerns of all?
This article provides the perspective of Georgia Lerner, Executive Director of the Women’s Prison Association, in her work with corrections agencies in New York. It highlights important lessons learned about the strengths and challenges of correctional facility-community provider partnerships and what makes them effective and worthwhile. Important learnings suggest that corrections and community providers: work deliberately to build trust, establish regular communication, provide opportunities for cross-training, create efficient and effective protocols, and clarify goals and expectations.
Taking advantage of opportunities to establish and strengthen such partnerships may help us realize better outcomes for justice involved women.
Read the full article
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
The NRCJIW would like to join the nation in raising awareness about domestic violence this month. We know from research that justice involved women report high rates of victimization and that their experiences of trauma and abuse, including that from intimate partners, play a significant role in their involvement in the justice system. While the vast majority of women are convicted of non-violent offenses, there is a small proportion of women that are convicted of violent crimes. By far the highest proportion of violent crimes committed by women occurs within the context of intimate partner relationships.
- The most frequently reported convictions of violent crime for women in the U.S. have been linked to domestic violence (Van Dieten, Jones, & Rondon, 2014).
- A 1996 national study found that 93% of women convicted of killing intimates partners (husbands, boyfriends or girlfriends) had been physically or sexually abused by an intimate (Women In Prison Project).
- Sixty-seven percent (67%) of women sent to prison in New York 2005 for killing someone close to them were abused by the victim of their crime (Cornell University Law School).
- In comparison with men, women are more likely to have a relationship with the target of their violence, either in the form of a close relative or intimate partner (Van Dieten, Jones, & Rondon, 2014).
Experiencing violence at the hands of a significant other can put women at greater risk for justice involvement in a number of ways, including, for example, being coerced into unlawful activities by a partner or as the result of fighting back to protect themselves or their children from abuse. Further, the rise of mandatory and dual arrest policies across the country, developed with the intention to stop the cycle of domestic violence, instead have created unintended consequences for women, especially women of color and low income women. These include a rise in the arrests of women by 35% and a subset of justice involved women who are more likely to be charged with aggravated (versus simple) assault, who are less likely to receive leniency at the sentencing stage, and who are more likely to accept harsher pleas (Battered Women’s Justice Project). In the long run, such policies can inadvertently increase a women's involvement in the justice system and/or the cycle of violence for her and her family.
There is a growing body of literature and best practice to support professionals as they work with domestic violence victims in the justice system. The NRCJIW developed a practice guide on Working With Women Who Perpetrate Violence in 2014 that provides a closer look at this issue including, specifically, the research on domestic violence, typologies of women who commit intimate partner violence, and a discussion of the implications for assessment and intervention with women who commit these acts.
Also, check out the following links for additional information and recommendations for advancing justice and safety for this particularly vulnerable population of women. (These resources can also be accessed through the NRCJIW’s critical issues resources page.)
Added to Our Resource Library: A Meta-Analytic Review of Correctional Interventions for Women Offenders
A meta-analysis published this year in Criminal Justice and Behavior supports recent research that girls and women respond well to gender-informed interventions leading to decreased involvement in the criminal justice system. Renee Gobeil and Kelley Blanchette from Carlton University, and Lynn Stewart, consultant, used meta-analysis to review 37 studies that together sampled almost 22,000 women in correctional settings. The authors found that: (1) women who participated in gender responsive correctional interventions had 22% to 35% greater odds of community success than non-participants and (2) that high fidelity women’s programs are not only effective but they are more effective for women than high fidelity, evidence based, gender neutral programs. Read the full article.