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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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The 2002 Mental Health Strategy For Women Offenders

Jane Laishes
Mental Health, Health Services



Mental health treatment programs and interventions will continue to be developed and delivered based on the best and most current treatment consistent with the principles reiterated in this document and as directed in CD 840, Psychological Services (Appendix I) and CD 850 Mental Health Services (Appendix H).

All psychological services must be developed with the intent of ongoing monitoring and periodic evaluation as per CD 840, Psychological Services (Appendix I). It is the responsibility of every mental health professional who delivers a treatment program or intervention to ensure that these are fully evaluated using both qualitative and quantitative measures and feedback from the participants. This requires that evaluation criteria, evaluation methods, and data collection requirements are identified prior to the start of the program. Treatment programs and interventions are to be evaluated for their overall ability to meet the needs of offenders, to adhere to the Principles Underlying the Development of Mental Health Programs and Services noted earlier, for their effectiveness, and for their ability to contribute to our knowledge of "what works" with women offenders. This could include:

  • Questionnaires completed by participants regarding the quality and usefulness of the material presented;
  • Pre- and post- tests assessing the knowledge gained by participants; and
  • Pre- and post-group measures of depression, anxiety, locus of control, and self-esteem as relevant for treatment groups.

Evaluation procedures must be refined and updated as the treatment programs and interventions develop.