National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women

National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women

Discussion

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National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women

description

End Unnecessary Incarceration of Women in America

The Problem

The U.S. incarceration rate for women is more than five times higher than most of the countries in the world—between 1991 and 2007 women’s corrections populations grew by 122%. Even in states where incarceration rates have been declining, women’s incarceration rates have remained constant or are increasing. Despite these alarming statistics, women are still only 10% of the total corrections population and, as a result, are often ignored in the face of the overwhelming problems posed by the greater population of men. In addition, because women make up such a small part of the overall corrections population, most corrections programs and protocols have been created through the lens of men and applied to women. Justice involved women are largely convicted of nonviolent and drug crimes and are typically at a low risk to reoffend. Many justice involved women are mothers, have high rates of untreated trauma and mental illness. There is now a body of research that supports a trauma-informed approach to working with justice involved women to achieve more successful outcomes and reduced recidivism. The problem is that few state/local corrections agencies understand the issues and circumstances that bring women into criminal justice and are not systematically trained in how best to respond despite studies that show that when staff are adequately trained and knowledgeable about gender responsive and trauma informed approaches, facility incidents (such as assaults, self-harming behaviors and mental health referrals) are reduced, recidivism goes down and the women receive the treatment they need to heal.

The Solution

The National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women is the only national organization whose purpose is to bring awareness about justice involved women to the national forefront, and whose primary strategy is to assist criminal justice professionals work more effectively with justice involved women so that they can heal, take care of their families and do not recidivate. With limited dollars we have just begun a social media campaign this past year, and through training and technical assistance have provided training to corrections professionals in some states. Through this effort, we propose a two-pronged effort to solidify our approach and expand our reach: (1) expand our social media campaign to continue to bring national attention to this critical issue, so that justice involved women are not forgotten, and in order to give voice to women who may be disenfranchised as a result of their criminal justice involvement. (2) Our vision for our secondary approach is one where every single criminal justice professional who works with justice involved women is trained in gender responsive and trauma informed care. We will do this by building on existing training curricula that has been successfully delivered in the past and train a corps of trainers to deliver it in every state in the country.

Stage of Development

Early stage

Organization to Receive Funds

Center for Effective Public Policy, Inc.

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