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Female offenders

“This is a summary report from a March 2013 forum sponsored by the Office for Victims of Crime and Office on Violence Against Women that was held with the intent of further defining partnerships, implementation issues, and determining what guidance would be useful. This report summarizes key issues and suggestions raised during the forum.” Sections of this document includes: framing the issues and challenges; potential promising practices; funding resources; Forum White Paper—“Rape Crisis Centers’ Response to Victims in Corrections” by Kristin Little; and survey results from correctional agencies and advocates.

Building Partnerships Between Rape Crisis Centers and Correctional Facilities To Implement the PREA Victim Services Standards Cover

This report will give those individuals working with incarcerated girls an insight into what their charges are feeling and thinking. “The voices in this report are those of the girls on the A Unit at the Thomas J. S. Waxter Children’s Center in Laurel, Maryland. This report, which describes the girls’ experiences in the juvenile justice system, grew out of an advocacy workshop I conduct with them on behalf of the ACLU of Maryland” (p. 2). This publication addresses the frustrations the girls have with Maryland’s juvenile justice system. Sections of this document discuss: who the incarcerated girls are; how they got to Waxter; what it is like in the facility; staff, medical, and educational services; visitation and how the girls miss their families; the Waxter six month program; the girls needing to be heard; the need for better food and clothing; the feelings of girls on the detention unit; recommendations by the girls such as, how to manage them and facility operation; and how one can take action to improve the conditions at Waxter.

Caged Birds Sing: A Report by Girls on the A Unit at Waxter Cover

Findings from a telephone assessment of state and federal practices for classifying women offenders are presented. In addition to an executive summary, this report has the following chapters:

  • Introduction;
  • Issues in classifying women offenders -- the literature;
  • Approach;
  • Findings;
  • And discussion.

Most states still apply a male-based classification system to women.


Classification of Women Offenders:  A National Assessment of Current Practices Cover

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

This report provides a description of the Collaborative Case Work Model for Justice-Involved Women (CCW-W), previously known as the Women Offender Case Management Model (WOCMM). CCW-W is an intensive casework model that was developed specifically for justice-involved women. Since the first pilot of this model by the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch/Court Services Division, CCW-W has demonstrated favorable outcomes in several settings. It is now being implemented in Connecticut, Iowa, Maine and Larimer County in Colorado.

cover image for publication

"Because the U.S. is unable to prevent widespread sexual violations of incarcerated women, it should apply the prescriptions of a recent U.K. female prison abolitionist movement as the most effective and humane solution to the problem." This article explains how. It is divided into the following six parts: introduction; victims of U.S. prisons; mass incarceration's offense; the terror of sexual victimization; PREA's [Prison Rape Elimination Act's] failure--the scope of PREA, and the ineffectiveness of PREA and its predecessors; the U.K. abolitionists solution--incarceration in the U.K., early calls for reform, and the Prison Reform Trust proposal; alternatives to the punishment of incarceration; and conclusion.

Commentary: Abandoned: Abolishing Female Prisons to Prevent Sexual Abuse and Herald an End to Incarceration Cover

Women involved in the criminal justice system have challenging and complex needs that are different than men’s. Generally, correctional approaches for women have largely been informed by policies and practices with men, in absence of consideration of gender differences. However, there is a growing body of research and best practices that inform practitioners on how they can better meet the risk factors and needs of women in the system, lower rates of recidivism and improve public safety.

The National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women (NRCJIW) has created this toolkit to provide practitioners with information, resources and tools to help them communication effectively with others regarding how we achieve better outcomes with women at all stages of the criminal justice system.

The following resources from this toolkit can be accessed at this website:

Infographic– The facts and intricacies of the needs of justice involved women may seem complex. To provide better understanding in an attractive and easy to follow format, the NRCJIW has created this infographic. It serves as a primer on some of the key issues that impact women in the justice system. The infographic can be shared in presentations and on social media, helping to engage and educate external audiences.

Slide Presentation – NRCJIW has developed a Microsoft PowerPoint-based slide presentation on meeting the complex needs of women in the justice system that includes recommended approaches for working with women in a way that is different from working with men. The purpose of this presentation is to increase understanding among key audiences, such as the judiciary, corrections officials, and probation and parole professionals on issues pertinent to justice involved women. It is designed to be easily customized for specific audiences, allowing for the removal or addition of slides as needed.

Quick Tips – This set of tips is designed to help professionals reflect on and improve how they and their agencies respond to justice involved women. This document offers considerations for changing policies and practices to better integrate gender responsive approaches for women, with the ultimate goal of improving public safety outcomes.

Resource List – This list contains the “must reads” or most seminal resources on justice involved women. For additional resources, please visit NRCJIW’s resource page.

Video – NRCJIW also developed a short video to provide professionals with an easy to follow narrative portraying the specific needs of women in the justice system. This video is ideal for sharing on social media and as part of in-person presentations to outside groups.

Communications Toolkit Cover

The Community Services Division coordinates technical assistance, specialized training, and other programs related to probation, parole, and other forms of community-based corrections.

The Division also sponsors the development of publications and materials on topics of interest to community corrections practitioners, and it coordinates an interdisciplinary effort to assist jurisdictions in developing a more rational, cost-effective, and coordinated system of criminal justice sanctions and punishments.

Technical assistance related to Community Corrections is provided on issues such as caseload management, victims programs, employee safety, classification and assessment, and intermediate sanctions. The Division also provides specialized training and other programs that focus on: Executive Leadership and Development; Women Offenders; Evidence-Based Offender Interventions; Inmate Transition to Communities; Workforce Development; and Responding to Probation/Parole Violations.

Division Chief: Holly Busby

"Recognizing that most inmates are trauma survivors and many common prison routines can re-traumatize women, the Women’s Community Correctional Center of Hawaii, under the leadership of Warden Mark Kawika Patterson, works to create “a place of healing and forgiveness” [pu'uhonua] through its Trauma- Informed Care Initiative (TICI) … Reducing the use of restraints and isolation has been a focus of the training and activities of TICI, since these interventions are likely to re-traumatize women who are trauma survivors and cause trauma responses in women who had not previously experienced trauma" (p. 1). Sections of this publication include: program-at-a-glance; WCCC inmate demography; what trauma is; some potential sources of trauma; trauma's effects on individuals; the consequences of historical trauma; institutional practices can re-traumatize; healing from trauma; planning and implementing the WCCC Trauma-Informed Care Initiative—needs assessment, planning, training on trauma-informed care, and strategic planning; TICI accomplishments—trauma screening and assessment, workforce development, and the use of trauma-informed practices to reduce seclusion and restraint; resources to build the pu'uhonua; keys to success—inspirational leadership, becoming a learning organization, survival participation, community involvement, and partnering with other government agencies, academia, and community-based non-profits.

Creating A Place Of Healing and Forgiveness: The Trauma-Informed Care Initiative at the Women’s Community Correctional Center of Hawaii Cover

"For over forty years, NIJ has invested in research on violence against women. This research touches on a wide variety of public safety concerns, including intimate partner violence, teen dating violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, as well as criminal justice challenges, including the availability of legal and victim support services, the effectiveness of prevention programs, and the impact of such crimes over time. To give researchers and support providers easier centralized access to recent evidence-based findings, NIJ annually updates a compendium that includes an abstract of each grant research study with details on how to find further publications." Entries present report number, amount spent, principal investigator, NIJ Program Officer, status of project, and any product produced. Projects are organized into the following areas: Justice and Related Systems—Advocacy, Arrest and Prosecution, Offender Interventions, Courts & the Criminal Justice System, Courts & the Civil Justice System, Forensic and Investigative Methods, Protection Orders, Policy and Legislation, and Victim Services; Definition and Measurement—Development of Risk Assessment Instruments, and Context, Meaning, and Motive; Epidemiology—National Surveys, Databases, Secondary Data Analysis of National Surveys Examining Risk Factors for Violence Against Women, and Risk Factors for Homicide and Serious Injury; Social and Cultural Context—Specific Populations, VAW and Welfare, Domestic Violence and Children, Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, Drug and Alcohol Use, and Criminal Histories, and Context and Life Course; Trafficking in Persons; VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) Evaluations; Synthesis of Existing Information; NIJ Jointly Funded Projects; Teen Dating Violence; and Violence against Indian Women.

Crime, Violence & Victimization Research Division's Compendium of Research on Violence Against Women, 1993-2014 Cover


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