Content categorized as 'Correctional' is limited in scope to the US Correctional Industry. It does not include cross-industry topics that affect multiple United States industries or areas of study and does not reach internationally.
As of 2016, over 1.2 million women in the United States were incarcerated in prison or jail, on probation, or on parole. Since 2000, the rate of women’s incarceration in jails rose over 26 percent, whereas the jail incarceration rate for men decreased by 5 percent. When women are released from jail or prison, they are often ill-prepared to reencounter and address the serious problems they faced prior to incarceration, such as victimization, an unstable family life, difficulties in school, limited work experience, financial issues, poverty, substance use disorders, mental health issues, a lack of vocational skills, and parenting difficulties.
The United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (‘the Bangkok Rules’) were adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2010 and fill a long-standing lack of standards providing for the specific characteristics and needs of women offenders and prisoners.
Historically, prisons and prison regimes have almost invariably been designed for the majority male prison population – from the architecture of prisons, to security procedures, to healthcare, family contact, work and training.
The 70 Rules give guidance to policy makers, legislators, sentencing authorities and prison staff to reduce the imprisonment of women, and to meet the specific needs of women in case of imprisonment.
The National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women (NRCJIW) was established to address the complex needs of women involved in the criminal justice system.
The mission of the NRCJIW is to provide guidance and support to criminal justice professionals—and to promote evidence-based, gender-responsive, and trauma-informed policies and practices—in order to reduce the number and improve the outcomes of women involved in the criminal justice system.
Over 20 years ago, in litigation challenging conditions for women in District of Columbia prisons, a federal district court found widespread violations of the women’s rights, citing unsanitary and otherwise substandard living conditions, inadequate medical care, and educational, recreational, and religious opportunities that were inferior compared with those available to men housed in the same facilities. The court also found evidence of “a level of sexual harassment which is so malicious that it violates contemporary standards of decency,” with reports of rape, “general acceptance of sexual relationships between staff and inmates,” unconsented sexual touching, and degrading remarks.
The programs on this site are varied in the populations they serve and services provided. This database is intended for correctional stakeholders working across front end decision-making, pre-trial release, jail and prison reentry and covers topical areas such as parenting programs and substance abuse and/or behavioral health. We have found this site to be a resource in correctional case planning, management, and supervision and treatment of women in correctional systems but also as a source of information for those interested in developing programs to serve women.
This database is not an exhaustive listing and we encourage visitors to help us keep the site active by submitting new programs.
Many researchers and practitioners working with justice-involved women understand the gendered nature of how women end up incarcerated. They also recognize that many (if not most) of the women in these institutions have experienced trauma – either as a child and/or as an adult. Practitioners working with women in jails and prisons also understand that all imprisoned women experience the trauma of incarceration. As a result, advocates, service providers, and others, have created programming for women that is both gender-responsive and trauma-informed. This listing includes resources that give some examples of gender-responsive and trauma-informed programs and curricula for practitioners working with justice-involved women.
Flanked by fig groves and vineyards and surrounded by electrified fences and thick coils of barbed wire, the Central California Women’s Facility is the largest women only prison in the state. Inside the low-slung cinderblock buildings, in a trailer that doubles as a classroom, a dozen prisoners have gathered around a conference table. They are black, white and Latina; former gang members, preschool teachers, musicians and veterans. They have one thing in common. All these women are serving long-term sentences for committing violent offenses. Many of them are LWoPs—life in prison, without the possibility for parole. They’ve come to this classroom to talk about the beginning of their journeys to prison — which almost invariably began with childhood trauma.
In March 2018, The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition released a report, A Growing Population: The Surge of Women into Texas’ Criminal Justice System, which examines the growing number of women entering Texas’ criminal justice system and offers recommendations for safely reducing this population and helping women thrive in the community.
While the use of evidence-based practice (EBP) is being used by more and more correctional systems, EBP tend to primarily address the needs of men. Issues specific to females are often overlooked. This void can be filled with gender-specific programming and services. The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) is a reliable resource for information about gender-responsive topics. This article provides a glimpse at the various things NIC offers. Some of these assets are technical assistance, training programs, the Gender-Responsive Bulletin and additional material, and models of practice which can improve operational outcomes.
This report was first published in 2014. Since then, some things have changed for women in solitary confinement—but many things have not. More attention has been placed on women in prison and on solitary confinement in general, but still, little attention has been paid to the specific plight of women in solitary confinement. Although laws, court decisions, and settlement agreements have all limited the use of solitary confinement for certain populations in some jurisdictions, the use of solitary confinement is still rampant in the United States. Vulnerable populations, including pregnant people and women with mental illness, are still being placed into solitary confinement, and not enough is being done to enforce limitations on such placements.