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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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Long-Term Federally Sentenced Women: Literature Review


The stages presented by Jose, are similar but not identical to those in The Perron Report. The stages described by Jose give some insight about the situations and experiences of women offenders and provide insight into some of the turmoil endured by women. This framework may provide guidance to staff, members of the community and program providers so that they are sensitive to the experiences of these women in certain situations. It must be kept in mind, of course, that not all women will react to a certain situation in the same way; as well, not all women go through all the stages.

Nevertheless, the descriptions provided in each of the phases may be useful in aiding the development of programs. Lee Axon, in her report Models of Exemplary Programs for Female Inmates, found that others have used similar frameworks to develop programs for this population. [ Axon, pg. 85-87.] Some of the suggested programs in accordance with the different phases/stages described by Maria Jose are the following:


Intervention: short term relationship counselling and crisis intervention.

Programs: child custody/placement services; law library services; any activities that involve persons from the community; intense orientation program; family day program; parenting in prison; job assignments.

Anger, depression and mourning

Intervention: reality therapy, identity crisis intervention and anger groups.

Programs: vocational training, university degree programs, family day program, parenting in prison.

Acceptance and hope

Intervention: family therapy, de-institutionalization, coping group, assertiveness training, and family role clarification.

Programs: any that assists in the re-socialization process (work release, study release, home passes, aging programs).

The programs listed above give some concrete examples of what sort of initiatives are needed so as to provide support. Overall, it is paramount that women be part of the process of evaluating what their own needs are.