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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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Literature Review on Women's Anger and Other Emotions


At the conclusion of the first comprehensive study of women's anger in natural settings (Thomas, 1993d), the author notes that among questions that remain unanswered is the consideration of "[w]hat therapeutic interventions are most effective with women whose high anger proneness or maladaptive anger management has already resulted in pathology" (p. 260). Among incarcerated women this is a question to be considered. Rucker however, speculates that "when given an accommodating correctional milieu, many offenders will make a bona fide effort to use the prison experience to improve themselves and hence to improve their chances for a decent life upon release" (Johnson, quoted in Rucker, 1991). For all women whose deep anger is waiting to be acknowledged and made visible, the words of Clarissa Pinkola Estés offer a concluding word of hope:

Our rage can, for a time, become our teacher... a thing not to be rid of so fast, but rather something to climb the mountain for, something to personify, learn from, deal with internally, then shape into something useful in the world as a result, or something we let go back down to dust.rage is not a stand alone item. It is a substance waiting for our transformative efforts. The cycle of rage is like any other cycle; it rises, falls, dies, and is released as new energy. (p. 352)