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Reentry Considerations for Justice Involved Women

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2016
20 pages
Rachelle Ramirez
Publication Type
Report (Technical Assistance), Report (Grant Sponsored), Issue Overview, Instructional Material
Grant Number(s)
After identifying distinctive reentry needs for justice-involved women, this report proposes ways to address these needs.
After noting the increasing percentage of women in U.S. prisons and jails, the report indicates that this increase can be traced to changes in State and National drug policies that mandated prison terms for even relatively low-level drug offenses, changes in law enforcement practices that target minority neighborhoods, and post-conviction barriers to reentry that uniquely affect women. Women's pathways to crime are also reviewed. Key factors are experiences of abuse or trauma, poverty and marginalization, mental health disorders, substance abuse, and dysfunctional relationships. Just as for men, focusing on reentry is critically important for women, since the majority will return home after completing their sentence. Their troubling recidivism rates are similar to men's. Six "operating principles" for the management of justice-involved women are presented and discussed. First, acknowledge that gender makes a difference for correctional practice; second, create an environment based on safety, respect, and dignity; third, develop policies, practices, and programs that are relational and promote healthy connections to children, family, significant others, and the community; fourth, address the complex problems of substance abuse, trauma, and mental illness in an integrated and comprehensive way; fifth, provide women with opportunities to improve their socioeconomic conditions; and sixth, establish a system of reentry and community supervision with comprehensive and collaborative services. This is followed by a section on critical issues for managing women's reentry and transition. These include addressing women's specific criminogenic needs before, during, and after reentry; case management; gender responsive programming; the transition phase; and the community phase. 3 exhibits, 58 references, and a listing of additional resources
Date Created: September 30, 2016