This article examines the use of gender-specific treatment programs for drug-dependant incarcerated female offenders.
A study conducted at the California State Prison for Women examined the success of a women-focused treatment program that provides substance abuse treatment for inmates, and found that a curriculum based on relational theory was a good fit for the program participants. Issues uncovered through focus group discussions regarding implementation of this program include the need to deliver the curriculum in a stable, safe, and supportive environment, which is difficult in a prison setting; staffing issues such as staff shortages and high turnover rates; conflicting goals of treatment and custody staff; and the size of the treatment group. Previous research has shown that significant differences exist between drug-dependant women and men offenders in the degree of intensity of needs with regards to addiction, mental health issues, and vocational/educational training and the ways in which treatment programs address their risks for relapse and recidivism. In response to these differences, efforts have begun to develop gender-specific substance abuse treatment programs for incarcerated women. This study examined the use of a women-focused treatment program based on relational theory that provides substance abuse treatment at the California State Prison for Women. The information collected from the focus group discussions conducted after completion of the program highlight the need for further study on the use of gender-specific treatment programs for drug-dependant incarcerated female offenders. References
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