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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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Healing The Relationship Between Federally Sentenced Women And Communities

Section C - Presentation of the Working Model of a Community Advocacy Response -Ability Mechanism

The Community Advocacy Response-ability Mechanism would potentially be activated when requested (ideally pre-sentence), personalized to the specific situation of each FSW, and voice both the women’s interests and the communities’ concerns.

The model hinges on the following principles:

• the FSW feeling ownership of the release plan

• identifying and giving assistance with interest/concerns of FSW and community

• the FSW feeling connected to a community meaningful to her specific offense, situation and circumstances.

• community participation shall help to reduce time incarcerated where ever possible

• development of the release plan occurring at sentencing

• community involvement increases "community self-esteem"/empowerment and contributes to crime prevention.

Phase 1 - At the time of sentencing (ideally pre-sentence), in the offenders home community a Community Justice Circle is formed. It is coordinated by a Community Justice Worker #1 (CJW). This CJW is an interested party from the community. The CJW will recruit the victim, the offender, and appropriate community members to be involved in the circle. They will meet and discuss; the offense, the committee members experience with the offender, causes of her behavior, what needs to be healed for victim/community, the offender’s concerns, and other issues felt to be important. The meeting will be videotaped.

Phase 2 - The woman will then be sentenced. Typically she will move away to the community where she will be incarcerated. In this other community a CJW #2 will meet with the FSW. They will view the videotape together. The CJW will offer assistance to the FSW and will initiate recruiting members for a local group to support the Fsw nad advocate for a process that increases accountability and healing. The CJW#2 is not a member of the local support group.

Phase 3 - The FSW is incarcerated. The local support group members will be volunteers. They will offer individual and group support for the FSW throughout incarceration. They will facilitate communication with the home community justice circle (HCJC).

Phase 4 - The FSW finishes her sentence and returns to her home community. The HCJC is ready to welcome and support her through her community integration and healing with the community.

• It will remain the woman’s responsibility to decide how she wants to deal with correctional and parole authorities through existing channels.

• In cases where the offense has taken place in community other than the offender’s home, decisions will have to be made regarding involvement of offender’s family/friend from her "home community" and representing the victims concerns in the "offense community".

• If the FSW is to be released into a community other than her "home community" both established support groups (local and home) will make a concerted effort to ensure appropriate linkages are in place for the release of the FSW.

Community Advocacy Response-ability Mechanism





Woman’s Home Community

• Offender

(and/or persons who know her)

• Victim (initially)

(and/or persons who know them)

• Neutral Community Rep. (i.e., police, community workers, church members, business owners)

• Voluntary

participation only

• Initiated by a Community Justice Worker #1

(who is from the local police, community, church etc.)

• Identify respective concerns/


• Develop plan of community support

for when woman is incarcerated and eventually released - or propose an alternate sentence plan rather than incarceration




Community where woman is Incarcerated
Community Justice Worker #2

in the community

where woman



• View Video with Woman

• Offer assistance with pertinent issues for FSW

• Help FSW

make contact with local circle of support/care

• Recruit, prepare, coordinate, educate local support group

• not a member of local support group

Local Support Group

(members are experts in areas identified in the plan, i.e., addictions, or others willing to encourage and support advocacy process)

• Voluntary participation by members of this group

• Individual and Group support

• Assess FSW evolving situation

• Communicate with home community justice circle

After Release from Institution
Woman returns to Home Community



• Welcome her back

• Ready to Support