Back to top

Female offenders

This report is an excellent resource explaining how the "criminal justice system should aim to prevent incidents of violence, bring perpetrators to justice, and ensure recovery and social reintegration for victims. Like any other group in society, women and girls are entitled to nothing less … however, the social, economic and cultural position of girls, together with deeply rooted discriminatory attitudes toward them in society as a whole, influence the attitudes and responses of the criminal justice system to heinous crimes of violence committed against them. Rather than benefitting from rehabilitation, protection and redress, girls who fall victim to violence often find themselves criminalized, which can lead, in turn, to further violence against them, inhuman punishment and unlawful deprivation of liberty. At the same time, perpetrators of violence against girls are rarely held accountable for their actions or deterred from committing further criminal acts" (p. 1). Sections comprising this document are: introduction—scope and purpose, an overview of violence against girls, the experience of girls in the criminal justice system, and factors contributing to the vulnerability of girls in the criminal justice system; gender-role stereotypes as a barrier to girls' access to justice; ensuring robust legislation to prevent and to respond to violence against girls; implementing comprehensive prevention programs; strengthening the capacity of the criminal justice system to prevent violence, stigmatization, and deprivation of liberty amongst girls; strengthening accountability and ending impunity; and conclusions and recommendations.

Safeguarding the Rights of Girls in the Criminal Justice System: Preventing Violence, Stigmatization and Deprivation of Liberty cover

Serious juvenile delinquency is a significant and costly problem in the society. However, custodial environments often exacerbate current problems and promote recidivism. Girls’ delinquency, in particular, may call for trauma-informed approaches within organizations that serve the most serious offenders. The purpose of this paper is to explore whether implementation of a trauma-informed intervention that aims to change the therapeutic stand of the organization, the Sanctuary Model ®, corresponded with improved indicators of physical and psychological safety of staff and youth at a female secure juvenile justice facility … Findings suggest that the facility was a safer place for both residents and staff after implementation of the model. Its safety indicators also compare favorably to those of the juvenile justice correctional field in general (p. 209).

Seeking Safety is a therapeutic program for women suffering from trauma, substance abuse, and/or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This website provides abundant information regarding this program and trauma-informed treatment. Points of entry are: the book “Seeking Safety; outcome results from evaluations of Seeking Safety; a wide range of articles regarding the Seeking Safety model (description and implementation) and empirical studies about it, PTSD and addiction, cognitive-behavioral and other therapies, therapists and therapy, and other related articles; training; frequently asked questions (FAQ); assessment; online forum for questions, ideas, and comments on the use of Seeking Safety; and contact information.

Seeking Safety: A Model for Trauma and/or Substance Abuse Cover

Intervention effectiveness can be improved by understanding how women respond to sanctions. This 6-hour course addressed sentencing practices in relation to female offenders through the following modules: why focus on women offenders?; the judicial response to the woman offender; who women offenders are; what works, what is in place, and what do programs in the represented jurisdictions offer?; sanctioning the woman offender; what do we have and what do we need?; and wrap-up session and evaluation of the learning experience. An appendix provides copies of session overheads.

In an effort to provide more evidence-based and supportive programming for women in the local jail and those transitioning to the community, Maricopa County sought technical assistance from the National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women, a project funded by BJA, in partnership with the National Institute of Corrections (NIC).  In this technical assistance project, the NRCJIW designed and delivered a series of multidisciplinary training events for staff, as well as others working with justice-involved women in Maricopa County; and provided project staff with additional written and electronic resources relevant to their work with justice-involved women.

If you want an easy to understand and concise source of information about female incarceration within the U.S. and the throughout the world, then this report is for you. It is a must read for correctional professionals, policymakers, advocates, and community members. "We already know that when it comes to incarceration … the United States incarcerates 716 people for every 100,000 residents, more than any other country. Worldwide, and within the U.S., the vast majority of those incarcerated are men. As a result, women's incarceration rates are overshadowed and often lost in the data. As a first step in documenting how women fare in the world's carceral landscape, this report compares the incarceration rates for women of each U.S. state with the equivalent rates for countries around the world." Sections of this report including a few of the findings are: introduction; outpacing the world—while the U.S. has only 5% of the world's female population, it holds close to 30% of the world's incarcerated females, very close to the total in Thailand, twice that of China, and four times that of Russia; World Women's Incarceration Rate if Every U.S. State Were a Country" infographic—the top 44 jurisdictions are states in the U.S.; outpacing our peers—among NATO countries the U.S. incarceration rate is eight times that of the closet ally Portugal, with Rhode Island with the lowest female incarceration rate in the U.S. is still twice that of Portugal and overall 15th in the world; outpacing ourselves; and conclusion. "The statistics revealed by this report are simple and staggering. They suggest that states cannot remain complacent about how many women they incarcerate. Women should be a mainstay of any state policy discussions on the economical and effective use of incarceration if we hope to incarcerate fewer women."

States of Women's Incarceration: The Global Context cover

This report highlights the data on girls in the juvenile justice system and the trauma that often leads them there, examines the effect the juvenile justice system has on girls and their access to education, and offers recommendations to avoid placing girls in the juvenile justice system and instead help them receive the educational and other services they need (p. 1).

The experiences of female inmates, their children, and the present caregivers of those children are examined. Any review of the problems women inmates and their children experience should include this report. Three sections are contained in this document: female prisoners—demographics, criminal histories, family histories, mental health histories, drug abuse histories, children, and concerns and recommendations from the women; caregivers of the children of female prisoners—backgrounds of the incarcerated mothers and the children, experiences of the children at the time of arrest, problems experiences by the children, contact between child and mother, and problems experienced by caregivers; and summary and recommendations.

Study of Incarcerated Women and Their Children 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


Subscribe to Female offenders