Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Justice-Involved Women

three women talking at their bunk bed in a prison cell

The National Institute of Corrections, in partnership with the Women's Prison Association, has developed The National Directory of Programs for Women with Criminal Justice Involvement. Learn more about the directory through the "Online Resources" sidebar in the right column of this page (second link from the top).

The number of justice-involved women has skyrocketed -- at rates exceeding men. Their entry into the criminal justice system, offense patterns, and levels of risk often follow a different path than men and require more targeted approaches. Correctional administrators need to understand and address these differences to improve outcomes for women offenders.

Assistance is available to local jurisdictions wishing to examine and improve their responses to this population. Agencies with sole or shared responsibility for managing women who come in contact with the criminal justice system can apply for limited, short-term technical assistance. Assistance may focus on women's pathways to criminal behavior and gender-responsive practices that improve outcomes in the community.

Agencies can also request technical assistance for reviewing current practices and identifying areas that require the design of more gender-responsive decision making processes, assessment tools, and program interventions that accomplish the jurisdiction's public policy goals.

With few exceptions, every policy, program and practice impacts women across the corrections continuum (pre-trial, jails, prisons and community corrections.) As the range of topics is so broad, you will find below a list of topics and additional resources. Find a topic, click, and there will be a number of items of interest.

A special thanks goes to Jefferson County Sheriff's Office for the photograph.

Click on the image of Patti Wachtendorf to watch her discuss her story about becoming the first female warden of Iowa's toughest prison.

Patti Wachtendorf talks about becoming a female warden as part of the storytellers project

Learn more about the Women’s Correctional Safety Scales Toolkit

Available for use in correctional agencies housing women in prison and jail settings.

Related NIC Microsites

Topic Categories and Resources

The following grey bars are accordions that can be expanded to show a list of "top-shelf" resources that have been hand-picked by our library team around this topic. If you would like additional research assistance on this topic, please contact our help desk. They have access to specialized databases and thousands of resources you won't find online. Click on a grey box below to browse resources in that section.