Back to top

Gender Responsive Strategies

Reviews information on gender-specific policies, programs, and services in corrections. Topics covered by this bulletin include: the Gender-Responsive Strategies Project -- approach and findings; defining gender responsiveness; national profile of women offenders; the foundation for the principles a new vision -- six guiding principles for a gender-responsive criminal justice system; general strategies for implementing guiding principles; gender-responsive policy elements; and conclusion -- addressing the realities of women's lives is the key to improved outcomes.

Cover image

An overview of the work done by collaborative partnerships to design and validate gender-responsive risk and needs assessments for female offenders is provided. This article discusses issues surrounding female offender classification and the current National Institute of Corrections (NIC) study regarding gender-responsive approaches to risk and needs assessment.

Classification of Women Offenders: Gender-Responsive Approach to Risk/Needs Assessment Cover

“The purpose of this bulletin is to explore the literature and summarize the empirical evidence related to the impact of employment on the criminal behavior of women” (p. 2). Sections comprising this publication are: female offender demographics; barriers to employment—overview, the role of the family and the community, time-management skills, and the role of agency; correctional education and vocational programs—education programs, vocational/technical programs, overall effectiveness of these programs, and outcomes for female offenders in educational and vocational programs; employment and crime—the role of employment and desistance from crime, employment outcomes and female offenders, and exploring gender differences in employment and crime; and conclusion.

Employment and Female Offenders:  An Update of the Empirical Research Cover

Guidance for those individuals "seeking to more effectively respond to the behavior and circumstances of the female offender" is offered (p. iv). An executive summary and the following four chapters comprise this manual: characteristics of women in the criminal justice system -- a descriptive summary; women offenders and criminal justice practice; the context of women's lives -- a multidisciplinary review of research and theory; and a new vision -- guiding principles for a gender-responsive criminal justice system. An appendix provides information regarding legal considerations with regard to women offenders.

Gender Responsive Strategies Cover

This report is necessary reading for anyone working with or concerned about girls who are incarcerated in adult correctional facilities. "Adult jails and prisons are not designed for the confinement of youth, and as a result most are not equipped to meet the inherent and specific needs of adolescents. Studies show that youth in adult confinement do not receive age-appropriate educational, medical, or rehabilitative services. They are subject to conditions that are developmentally inappropriate and physically and emotionally unsafe; these conditions run counter to rehabilitative goals. In addition, a growing body of research shows that youth confined in adult facilities are exposed to seasoned offenders and, as compared to youth who are placed in juvenile facilities, are more likely to recidivate with more severe crimes upon release … This bulletin focuses on the population of girls under age 18 who are confined to adult facilities in the United States. It provides a summary of current research, incorporates the voices of practitioners, and offers recommendations for improving conditions and outcomes for girls who are sentenced to adult facilities" (p. 1-2). Sections of this publication cover: mechanisms that move girls into adult courts; profile of justice-involved girls; challenges to providing adequate programming and services; challenges to keeping girls safe; staffing challenges; and concluding remarks and six recommendations. An appendix provides results from a National Institute of Corrections /National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NIC/NCCD) Survey of Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) regarding issues and challenges that adult facilities deal with related to youth under the age of 18, particularly girls.

No Place for Youth: Girls in the Adult Justice System cover

<p>The development and implementation of the Cook County Sheriff's Department of Women's Justice Services (DWJS) is discussed. This bulletin is comprised of these sections: introduction; background; the decisionmaking process; decision point mapping example -- custody/release; creating the DWJS; gender-responsive innovations; meeting the healthcare needs of women offenders in Cook County; and challenges and accomplishments.</p>

Responding to Women Offenders: The Department of Women's Justice Services in Cook County, Illinois Cover

The use of gender-responsive strategies with women involved in the community corrections system is explained. Sections comprising this report are: what community corrections is; what gender-responsiveness for women offenders in community corrections is; definition of gender-responsiveness for women in the criminal justice system; summary of gender-responsive research; characteristics of women offenders in the criminal justice system (e.g., types of offenses, substance abuse, health, children and marital status, education and employment, and victimization and trauma); theoretical perspectives on womens criminal behavior -- pathways theory, relational theory, trauma theory, and addiction theory; comprehensive treatment model for issues critical to women; guiding principles for implementing gender-responsive strategies for women offenders; the three Rs for case planning; essential services of comprehensive treatment programs for women offenders; challenges in implementing gender-responsive strategies; overcoming challenges; and community corrections responsibility to women offenders.

Supervision of Women Defendants and Offenders in the Community Cover

The use of systemic criminal justice planning by Hamilton County (OH) to improve services and programming for women offenders is reviewed. This bulletin is comprised of the following sections: introduction; the systemic planning process; members of the Intermediate Sanctions for Women Offenders Policy Team; steps in the collaborative systemic planning process (chart); how decision mapping works; sample findings and results; the Alternative Interventions for Women (AIW) Treatment Program; and lessons learned. AIW graduates have a 13% new criminal conviction rate and a 6% probation violation resulting in jail time rate.

Systemic Criminal Justice Planning: Improving Responses to Women Offenders in Hamilton County, Ohio Cover

Current research about women offenders and strategies for evaluating current operating procedures related to women offenders are covered. Sections of this bulletin include: introduction; women in jail -- their numbers and characteristics; the Gender-Responsive Strategies project -- approach and findings; six gender-responsive guiding principles -- implications for jail administrators; jail classification and gender-responsive strategies for implementation in a jail setting; challenges and how to overcome them; parity and equity in programming; next steps; improving jail operations -- how jail administrators benefit from considering gender-responsive strategies; Maximizing Opportunities for Mothers to Succeed (MOMS): Alameda County Sheriff's Office, Oakland, California; and conclusion.

The Gender-Responsive Strategies Project: Jail Applications Cover

The "use of jail exit surveys as an effective data collection tool for creating [a] picture of the characteristics of women in contact with the local jail" is described (p. 1). Sections of this bulletin are: introduction; how one jurisdiction used data to inform responses to women offenders; reasons for conducting a jail exit survey; what a jail exit survey entails; tips for getting started; designing a jail exit survey; understanding jail exit survey information; comprehensive listing of major data elements to include in a jail exit survey; and lessons learned. A sample questionnaire is also included.

Using Jail Exit Surveys to Improve Community Responses to Women Offenders Cover
Subscribe to Gender Responsive Strategies