Adult and Juvenile Female Offenders Services
Enacted: Jul 2016
The justice system must recognize and respond to the specific and unique risks and needs of women and girls as it has responded to the unique risks and needs of the young, elderly, veteran, behavioral health, and sex offense populations. Community Corrections must take into account the physical, behavioral, social, and cultural differences between males and females and ensure policies reflect best practices for each gender.
Females have always represented a much smaller number of the community corrections population than males. Justice involved females represent a very small proportion of violent offenders and regardless of age, have experienced physical and sexual abuse that continues into adulthood at a higher rate than males. Moreover, females more frequently experience physical and mental health issues that interfere with efforts in addressing risk of recidivism.
Female offenders bear greater responsibility for families. Consideration must, therefore, be given to the impact on the lives of their children when implementing effective case management and supervision.
Finally, policies, practices, programming, and resources must consider and respond to differences among women and girls.
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
In managing Justice Involved Women and Girls, Community Corrections should:
- Acknowledge that gender makes a difference in what is most effective for women and girls in the development and review of all policies and practices.
- Use validated gender responsive risk and need assessment instruments.
- Develop specific and comprehensive gender responsive programs and services to address poverty, parenting, trauma, physical health (including reproductive and gynecological issues), behavioral health, education, and training.
- Offer safe, nondiscriminatory, supportive environments for women and girls under supervision. Programs should be designed to expand the economic self-sufficiency of women and girls with emphasis on education, career counseling, life skills, and wellness programs.
- Offer comprehensive, least restrictive alternatives to incarceration/detention, including pre-trial, probation, restitution, community residential and post release services to meet the needs of women and girls.
- Ensure that all staff, including contract agencies and volunteer services, are carefully screened and trained in gender responsive policies and practices.
- Promote research on and evaluation of effective interventions for women and girls.
Williams, V. M. (2014). Female Offender: Re-entry Perceptions and the Need for Gender-Specific Programming. Doctoral dissertation, Walden University. (Assession No. 3611885)