By Maureen Buell, National Institute of Corrections, Washington, D.C.
This article appeared in American Jails magazine, Vol. 27, no. 6, January/February 2014, pp. 51–54. It is featured here with the permission of the American Jail Association.
“Accepted policy and practice in the correctional profession have been established and implemented for the largest population, which is overwhelmingly male. That holds true for programming, facility design, assessment and classification tools, and all operations foundational to the management of an institution. . . Missed are the issues that are either unique to women or that occur with more frequency with female offenders.”
Among the differences that justify a gender-responsive approach to women in custody are:
· Their lower level of risk compared to the majority of male offenders,
· Their status as either pregnant (6% of women in jail) or the parent of minor children (62% of women in prison),
· Their more frequent histories of physical and sexual abuse compared to men,
· Their high levels of mental illness, behavioral health challenges, and substance abuse, which are direct causes of much of women’s criminal behavior.
The article provides an overview of NIC technical assistance, training, reports, and tools agencies can access to examine and refine their services for women in contact with the justice system.
View the article here.
Points of view or opinions stated in this blog are those of the authors and
do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of
the U.S. Department of Justice.