It’s Beyond Important, It’s Survival: Essential Justice Work with Native Women


Monday, February 26, 2024
9:45 AM - 10:45 AM
Session Type: Workshop

The push to implement gender responsive policies and practices with justice-involved women and girls has led to improved outcomes with this historically neglected population. At the same time, efforts to confront the ways in which Indigenous communities have been harmed by criminal justice system practices have led to impactful, Indigenous-centered justice initiatives. Unfortunately, Native women have remained largely invisible in both these efforts. Native American women are incarcerated at six times the rate of white women, have different experiences than Native men, and are disproportionately impacted by criminal justice system practices. This workshop explores the importance of an intersectional approach to justice work with all women, specifically elevating the narratives and perspectives of Native women and essential community supervision practices to support their successful reentry experience. It centers the voices and perspectives of directly impacted Native women, uncovering their realities, their resilience, and their critically important perspectives on justice. Designed for supervisors and officers, this workshop will provide concrete steps criminal justice professionals and providers can take to improve their policies, practices and outcomes with Native women.


Alyssa Benedict
Executive Director, CORE Associates, LLC

Alyssa Benedict, MPH has over 20 years of experience working to improve policies and practices with justice involved women, and specializes in the design and implementation of gender responsive, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive policies and practices. She the founder and Executive director of CORE Associates and co-founder of the Women’s Justice Institute. Alyssa has specialties in the neurobiology and ecology of trauma and resilience, and organizational development, and has explored human service systems and individual and social trauma, resilience and justice in the US, Canada, Germany, South Africa and Thailand. She provides training and technical assistance to governmental and non-governmental organizations, helping them to integrate multi-disciplinary and international knowledge. Alyssa has authored, co-authored and contributed to various publications, models and resources designed to support practitioners, administrators and policy makers and improve systems and organizations for and with women and girls. She a doctoral candidate in International Psychology, focusing on Indigenous approaches to justice and healing. Her current research focuses on the unique experiences and perspectives of Native women who have been impacted by the criminal justice system.

Valarie Jones Ogle
Reentry Case Manager, Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe

Valarie Jones member of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe. She takes pride in her journey on the red road of recovery as she is a person of lived experience. Valarie is the Lead Success Coach/Case Manager for Port Gambles Recovery homes, Success Coach for the Re-Entry Program. Valarie is certified in Recovery Coaching, Trauma Informed Care, NWI Healthy Relationships, White Bison Medicine Wheel of the 12 steps, Warrior Down, Correctional Assessments for Intervention Systems, Mental Health Firs Aid USA. She has a passion for the Second Chance Act, due to her lived experience she was a participant in the Port Gamble Re-Entry Program. Upon completion of Re-Entry, she was given the opportunity to work in the Tribes Court Services Program starting out as an assistant and quickly flourished. With her dedication and passion, she worked her way up to the Re-Entry Success Coach to give back and be a helping hand for her community and tribe.

Selina Ramirez
Reentry Program Coordinator, Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe

Selina Ramirez is a mother of four children and grandmother to two grandbabies; she is also a Tribal Member of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe and a person in Recovery of over 6 years. Ramirez is a Re-Entry Coordinator /Success Coach for Road to New Beginnings with the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe. She has been working as a Success Coach for about 4 years and Reentry Coordinator a little over a year. Ramirez is certified in Recovery Coaching, Trauma Informed Care, Conflict Resolution, White Bison, Medicine Wheel, Correctional Assessments for Intervention Systems, Peer Recovery Support in Tribal Communities, Neurobiology of Addictions- Beyond the Basics and is a Restorative Circle Practitioner. She sits on the DUI Victims Impact Panel. Throughout Selina’s journey she came across many barriers and obstacles that prevented her from getting out of the cycle of addiction and incarceration. It all changed when she met her Success Coach. She truly believes having that Success Coach working side by side helped her to get where she is today. Selina understands how hard it is to make it and is dedicated to her profession. She believes in providing hope to others that are stuck in addiction and to show them there is a chance and someone cares. She feels very strongly for advocacy for the ones that struggle with barriers.