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In the News: Women Shortchanged by Justice Reforms
NIC News & Updates


women shortchangedThis article summarizes a recent report from the Prisoner Reentry Institute of John Jay College of Criminal Justice on gender and criminal justice reform. The report,  Women In Justice: Gender and the Pathway to Jail, argues that “reforms must be gender-responsive, faithful to the principles of parsimony and proportionality, and engage social services to better serve individuals with criminal justice involvement.”

Highlights from the report:

  • The number of women in the American justice system has grown exponentially, by more than 700%,  from 1980 to 2014.
  • Women of color in particular are disproportionately arrested and incarcerated.
  • The New York City data (from Rikers Island) shows that “women are charged with less serious crimes, are less likely to be charged with violent crimes, and are less likely to return to jail within one year.”
  • Recommended guiding principles of reform:
    1. Interventions to address the needs of justice-involved women in New York City must be gender-responsive and trauma-informed.
    2. The criminal justice system should be used as a hub for identifying the needs of NYC’s justice-involved women and connecting them to social services, but should not mandate participation in programming as part of sentencing or pretrial conditions unless it is a proportionate and parsimonious response.
    3. Social service systems must recognize, engage, and attend to the needs of women with criminal justice system involvement.
  • Recommendations for gender-responsive targeted interventions:
    1. Divert offenses common to women with behavioral health needs;
    2. Increase the use of non-monetary release mechanisms;
    3. Expand pretrial alternatives to individuals charged with certain serious crimes;
    4. Increase defender-based pretrial advocacy capacity;
    5. Increase alternatives to short jail sentences for misdemeanors;
    6. Ensure that gender-responsive services are allocated system-wide; and
    7. Facilitate community connections.

Access the article

Access the full report


This announcement is available at NIC’s Gender-Responsive News for Women and Girls.  Feel free to forward to friends and colleagues.  Subscribe to the newsletter at

For additional resources on Justice-Involved Women go to NIC’s Women Offenders.

Posted Tue, Mar 21 2017 12:07 PM by Susan Powell


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