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Gender responsive

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.

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Criminal career patterns, social context and features, psychological factors, potential matches in prior pathways research, sub-types, and treatment goals are provided for the following types of women's pathways to crime: "Type 1 - Quasi-Normal non-violent women with drug/alcohol issues"; "Type 2 - Lifelong Victims, many of whom have abusive partners, drug problems and depression"; "Type 3 - Socialized Subcultural Pathways, poor and marginalized but with low victimization and few mental health problems"; "Type 4 - Aggressive Antisocial, high risk/high need and victimized, mental health issues"; [and] women offenders not classified.

Women’s Pathways to Serious and Habitual Crime Cover

The development of new risk/needs assessments specifically designed for female offenders is discussed. This report is comprised of these sections:

  • The case for women's needs;
  • Development of new assessments;
  • Construction validation research;
  • Full instruments;
  • Implementation considerations;
  • Obtaining the gender-responsive assessments;
  • And conclusion.
Achieving Accurate Pictures of Risk and Identifying Gender Responsive Needs: Two New Assessments for Women Offenders Cover

This brief describes the principles of gender-responsive programs, summarizes the literature, and presents highlights of MDRC’s implementation study of PACE Center for Girls. The PACE evaluation offers an important opportunity to describe how gender-responsive principles are put into operation in a real-world setting — across 14 locations in Florida — and to investigate the effects on girls’ lives (p. 12).

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

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

Research, practice, and guiding principles related to gender-responsive strategies and utilized in jail settings are exchanged. The six guiding principles are: acknowledge that gender makes a difference; create an environment based on safety, respect, and dignity; develop policies, practices, and programs that are relational and promote healthy connections to children, family, significant others, and the community; address the issues of substance abuse, trauma, and mental health through comprehensive, integrated, culturally-relevant services and appropriate supervision; provide women with opportunities to improve their socioeconomic conditions; and establish a system of community supervision and reentry with comprehensive, collaborative services.

Effective Management of Female Inmates: Applying the Research on Gender Responsive Correctional Strategies to Local Jails 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

This two-hour training session is for correctional managers wanting to implement risk and needs assessments for adult female offenders. Participants will: become familiar with gender-responsive assessments and approaches; and receive information regarding the adoption of the Women’s Risk and Needs Assessment instrument. Topics discussed include: evidence-based practice; risk/needs assessment; gender-neutral risk assessment; women offenders; gender-responsive concepts; risk assessment validation; developing a gender-responsive risk assessment; seamless classification; and implementation considerations.

Gender Responsive Classification Instruments for Women Offenders: What Do They Look Like and How Will They Improve Practice?  Cover

"The Guide is designed to assist corrections professionals in revising discipline and sanctions policies and practices to more effectively manage women inmates, and create safer facilities for staff and inmates. It builds on a growing body of research and practice that supports an approach to discipline and sanctions tailored to women inmates. It also provides a synopsis of American Correctional Association (ACA) standards, and case law relevant to discipline and sanctions policies and practices for women … The Guide is a new and innovative approach for applying what is known about women (i.e., research and practitioner experience) to discipline and sanctions policies and practices. Its primary purpose is to inform corrections work in this area, and contribute to the growing body of knowledge and research to achieve more successful outcomes with women offenders." This guide is comprised of the following sections: overview; process; research implications; integrating research and practice with ACA standards; legal issues; and research findings.

Gender Responsive Discipline and Sanctions Policy Guide for Women’s Facilities cover

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