Gender Responsiveness

The circumstances and needs of female and male offenders are different in many respects and require appropriate differentiation in the provision of programs and services. Effective management of respective populations requires correctional systems to develop gender appropriate services and programs for accused and adjudicated adult and juvenile female offenders. Correctional systems must take into account the physical, behavioral, social and cultural differences between female and male offenders and how those differences should be reflected in policies and practices.

A. Correctional services should review all policies, program and practices including classification systems to ensure they are gender responsive.

B. Programs should offer a safe, non-discriminatory, supportive environment for women and girls under supervision.

C. Correctional systems should provide comprehensive, integrated, age and developmentally appropriate, gender responsive programs and services that address substance abuse, physical and sexual abuse, trauma, physical and mental health, relationship, spiritual, economic self-sufficiency, and legal issues for women and girls.

D. Correctional services should facilitate the maintenance and strengthening of family ties, particularly those between mother and child throughout the correctional system.

E. Communities should offer comprehensive, least restrictive alternatives to incarceration, including pre-trial and post-trial diversion, probation, restitution, community residential and parole/aftercare services designed to meet the needs of women and girls.

F. Correctional facilities should offer gender responsive conditions of confinement, including carefully screened and trained staff and the implementation of humane, relevant security policies and practices as well as meet women and girls' needs in such areas as nutrition, clothing, personal property, hygiene supplies, exercise, and recreation/wellness programs.

G. Programs should be designed to expand economic self-sufficiency of girls and women, with emphasis on education, career counseling, and exploration of non-traditional vocational training, life skills, re-entry, and work/education release programs and ensure that women and girls return to the community with access to short-term emergency services including housing, subsistence and clothing.

H. Promote research on and evaluation of effective community corrections interventions for juvenile and adult female offenders.