102134: Women's Pathways to Jail

The Roles & Intersections of Serious Mental illness & Trauma

About the Course:

This research study assessed the prevalence of serious mental illness, posttraumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse disorders in female offenders. This study furthermore examined how onset of different types of criminal activity and delinquency vary as a function of mental health status and trauma exposure. Additionally, the researchers interviewed corrections staff members at participating institutions to assess staff members’ perceptions about the prevalence of mental health difficulties in women in jail as well as staff beliefs about women’s pathways to jail. Understanding female offenders’ pathways to offending, including both risk for onset and risk for continued offending, helps demonstrate the complexity of their experiences and identify risk factors and intervening variables. The findings from this research project have important implications for gender-responsive, trauma-informed programming, including prevention, risk reduction, staff training, and interventions directed toward the rehabilitative needs of justice-involved women and girls.

Journal/Publisher:

Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA): U.S. Department of Justice

Publication Date:

September 2012

Author

Shannon M. Lynch, Ph.D., Dana D. DeHart, Ph.D., Joanne Belknap, Ph.D., & Bonnie L. Green, Ph.D.

About the Author:

This multi-site research was funded and published through a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), U.S. Department of Justice.

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially psychologists, counselors, social workers, and nurses who seek knowledge about mental illness, PTSD, and substance abuse in female offenders. It is appropriate for all levels of participants’ knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Describe the prevalence of serious mental illness, posttraumatic stress disorder, and substance use disorders in female offenders.

  2. Describe the relationships between trauma/victimization, mental illness, substance use, and offending in women.

  3. Describe the perspectives of correctional staff regarding the roles of mental illness, trauma/victimization, and history of substance use in female offenders, as well as the concerns and recommendations of correctional staff.

  4. Discuss the implications of this research for gender-responsive, trauma-informed programming, including prevention, risk reduction, staff training, and interventions directed toward the rehabilitative needs of justice-involved women and girls.

Exam Questions

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