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Evaluation of In-Prison Programming for Incarcerated Women: Addressing Trauma and Prior Victimization, Executive Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
20 pages

This is the executive summary of the Final Report of an NIJ-funded study that conducted a two-tiered, 33-month, exploratory mixed-methods study of the policies, programs, and practices used nationwide to address the needs of incarcerated women with prior trauma and victimization experiences, as well as to prevent in-custody victimization.


The overall goal of the study was to produce information to guide policymakers, practitioners, and program developers in designing and implementing programs and conditions that are therapeutic for incarcerated women with a history of trauma and victimization experiences. Data were obtained from phone interviews with leaders of state departments of corrections; a national survey of state domestic-violence and sexual-assault coalitions; phone interviews with prison staff about the policies, programs, and practices of 15 women’s prisons known to be leaders in offering victim services and trauma-informed inmate programs; and site visits to three facilities to conduct interviews with prison facility and community-based stakeholders. The latter included interviews with incarcerated women. The study found that state departments of corrections have different approaches for addressing incarcerated women’s prior trauma and victimization. Some states are more innovative and comprehensive than others; however, collectively, DOCs can do more to address the distinctive needs of incarcerated women. The 15 state facilities with programs tailored to the needs of inmates with histories of trauma and victimization reported several practices tailored to inmate needs. Efforts were incorporated into custodial practices, programming, and staff training. 2 figures, 1 table, and 12 references

Date Published: January 1, 2020