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Challenges Incarcerated Women Face as They Return to Their Communities: Findings From Life History Interviews

NCJ Number
Crime & Delinquency Volume: 47 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2001 Pages: 368-389
Date Published
July 2001
22 pages

This article examined the challenges that incarcerated women faced as they returned to their communities from jail or prison.


Data presented in this article were drawn from 42 in-depth interviews using an open-ended instrument and analysis using the grounded theory method. The article includes a demographic profile of women in jails and prisons in the United States. It discussed the challenges these women faced upon release from correctional facilities, focusing on the gender and culturally specific needs of formerly incarcerated women from low-income communities. The article also discussed the broader contexts that affected women's self-sufficiency, and the need for neighborhood development initiatives, public policy reform, and social changes. The majority of women incarcerated in America are women of color, young, and poor. Findings disclosed seven thematic challenges and barriers to successful reentry into their communities: (1) treatment for substance abuse problems; (2) health care; (3) mental health issues; (4) violence prevention and post-traumatic stress disorder; (5) educational and employment services; (6) safe, secure, affordable housing; and (7) child advocacy and family reunification. Approaches that might facilitate women's reintegration into the community include: comprehensive programs, often referred to as a case management approach; community development and linkages; empowerment or consciousness raising; and community mentoring, care, and consistency. References

Date Published: July 1, 2001