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Faye S. Taxman; Karen L. Cropsey
Women and the Criminal Justice System: Improving Outcomes Through Criminal Justice and Non-Criminal Justice Responses
Women & Criminal Justice Volume:17 Issue:2/3 Dated:2006 Pages:5 to 26
This paper presents an overview of the characteristics of women offenders, the state of knowledge about programs and services for women, and policy choices regarding how to handle the increasing number of women in the criminal justice system. A major theoretical approach to criminology is Risk-Needs-Responsivity (RNR), which provides a scientific approach to policies and programs or services to improve risk factors. This theory suggests that the criminal justice system should provide services and interventions to offenders who are more likely to reoffend, and to ensure that such interventions respond to the factors, such as antisocial values, criminal peers, dysfunctional families, substance abuse, criminal personality, and low self-control that directly affect involvement in criminal behavior. The services or interventions then must be responsive to the criminological needs of women offenders and recognize the differences between genders. Under RNR theory, high risk offenders should be offered more services under the criminal justice umbrella. The limited research in this area suggests that the criminal justice net is attracting women who are lower in socioeconomic status and who are not self-sufficient. Using incarceration for this subpopulation appears to only further perpetuate a cycle of involvement with the criminal justice system for the greater parts of their life. However, given the current state of the social services in the United States, women offenders are unlikely to be offered services to advance their lot in society unless the service is provided through the criminal justice or child welfare systems. However, the history of the criminal justice system in providing increased programming and services has not necessarily shown the desired outcome. A better understanding of differences between female offenders and their male counterparts is needed to advance the knowledge about effective policies and programs/services that will reduce recidivism among women offenders. References
Sheryl Pimlott Kubiak; Cynthia L. Arfken
Beyond Gender Responsivity: Considering Differences Among Community Dwelling Women Involved in the Criminal Justice System and Those Involved in Treatment
Women & Criminal Justice Volume:17 Issue:2/3 Dated:2006 Pages:75 to 94
This study assessed the similarities and differences between women involved in the criminal justice system and other women in the community seeking treatment services. Significant differences were found between women involved in the criminal justice system versus those that were not involved in the criminal justice system and seeking treatment services in their community. The study found that 43.6 percent of the criminal justice involved women had four or more areas of need compared with 16.5 percent of noncriminal justice women currently in treatment. The fit between available community resources and supports and the complex and multiple needs of women involved in the criminal justice system deserves to be examined more fully in each community. Gender responsive strategies are important, but differences within gender need to be examined both at an individual treatment level and at a systems level when planning and implementing responsive community-based services. As the debate regarding gender responsive strategies continues, there is little attention to differences that exist within gender. Attention to within gender differences is of particular importance in community contexts where many women involved in the criminal justice system are located and receiving treatment with non-criminal justice involved women. This study examined three mutually exclusive groups of adult women living in the community. These groups are (1) those involved in the criminal justice system, (2) those involved in the mental health and substance abuse treatment system but not involved in the criminal justice system and (3) women not associated with either criminal justice or mental health and substance abuse treatment. Tables, references
Maximizing Success for Drug-Affected Women After Release From Prison: Examining Access to and Use of Social Services During Reentry
Women & Criminal Justice Volume:17 Issue:2/3 Dated:2006 Pages:95 to 113
This paper describes some of the correlates of drug-affected women and their involvement in the criminal justice system and findings from a study of drug-convicted African-American women who returned from prison to an economically disinvested community in Chicago. Although census figures from 2000 describe the neighborhood of Cameron, in the metropolitan area of Chicago, a primarily African-American neighborhood as beset by multiple negative indicators, it is also a neighborhood that is ripe for economic and social change. In addition to an emerging faith-based network, a thriving community newspaper, and several new housing complexes that include subsidized and market-rate homes and rental units, the neighborhood has fostered the growth of a major partnership of community-based organizations, economic development agencies and businesses working together to improve the earnings potential of the community. This has been accomplished through innovative employment initiatives that lead to economic advancement and an improved quality of life for residents. The neighborhood also hosts one of the few programs in the city explicitly designed for former prisoners, an employment and case management program which is attempting to now expand its outreach to women. Based on interviews with women and service providers, the following recommendations are suggested when working with formerly incarcerated women reentering the community: (1) a comprehensive and multidimensional assessment of psychological, social, and educational needs prior to release; (2) assistance with identifying family issues for family conferencing and negotiation; and (3) closer attention to job placement that enables women to gain income and gradual experience in the labor market. The intent of this paper was to provide a synthesis of literature that describes the complex issues that African-American women involved in the criminal justice system experience, as well as findings from a study with women and service providers in one large urban neighborhood marked with issues of illicit drug use, low education and employment rates, and a high proportion of formerly incarcerated community members. Tables, references
Beth E. Richie
Women and Drug Use: The Case for a Justice Analysis
Women & Criminal Justice Volume:17 Issue:2/3 Dated:2006 Pages:137 to 143
This paper discusses the importance of developing theoretical frameworks and measures for assessing social (in) justice that would allow for it to be operationalized, generalized, and tested for validity in order to help explain what justice is and how injustice works as a broader causal mechanism in the growing problem of women and drug use. Extensive data link women’s use of drugs and their subsequent involvement in illegal activity to their growing involvement with the criminal justice system. Although research has established causal factors and consequences for drug use among women, these factors do not take into account the fundamental social injustices that also contribute to drug use among women, including interactions with social institutions, social sigma, and punitive public policy. In this paper, the term justice signifies the range of conditions that would expand opportunity for those who have been constrained by their social position or lack of access to institutional privileges. Justice works to both validate the sense that macro variables play a role in the creation of individual pathology and treatment of injustice is corrective at the level of broader social forces. An analysis that points to the need for advancing justice as part of the solution to a social problem like drug abuse by women focuses attention on the role that the state and its institutions play in the creation of conditions that lead to individual dysfunction. Intervention is aimed at restoring rights, creating opportunity and strengthening the social position of those who suffer the most in contemporary society; as in the case of women who use drugs.