Minority Women Offenders and Nursing Care

Afza.Malik GDA

Nursing Care and Minority Women Offenders

Minority Women Offenders and Nursing Care

Minority Women Offenders,Women Offenders and Their Supervision,Difference as Compare to Male,Unique Needs of Female Offenders,Low Count of Female as compare to male,Service Levels and Nursing Needs
Minority Women Offenders

     To date, criminal justice programs are based on the male experience because of the preponderance of men prisoners. However, criminal justice statistics indicate female detainees are increasing in numbers more rapidly than the male detainee population (Haywood, Kravitz, Goldman, & Freeman, 2000). 

    Additionally, because minority women are disproportionately represented in the numbers of incarcerated women, there is a need for culturally specific, gender responsive programs.

Women Offenders and Their Supervision

    Although the majority of federal female offenders are under community supervision, there is very little information available on their characteristics and needs. There is even less known about supervision issues and strategies, treatment approaches, and characteristics that enhance effective programs and successful outcomes for female offenders. T

    he effectiveness of rehabilitation programs for the general offender population has received much attention; however, there is a paucity of research dedicated to the female offender population (Koons, Burrow, Marash, & Bynum, 1997).

    Many of these women offenders are supervised by a probation agency and are considered as low risk and therefore have very little. contact with their probation officer. There is, however, indication that this lack of contact with their supervising agent leads to higher rate of failure on community supervision (Chesney-Lind, 2000).

Difference as Compare to Male

    The rationale for women committing a crime is generally different than for their male counterpart. For instance, a woman may have been coerced into drug offenses or other criminal behavior because of an abusive spouse or boyfriend. This type of influence is referred to as gender entrapment (Ritchie, 1996).

    Probation and parole periods were initially intended to afford the opportunity of gradual reintegration into the community, eliminating the social stigma in due time; however, this hoped-for pattern of reintegration into a healthy life pattern generally does not occur (Simon, 1993). 

    There is a lack of opportunities for reintegration and acceptance by society. The stigma remains, marking the ex-felon and often creating angry and defiant responses to the related feelings of shame and rejection (Scheff & Retzinger, 1991).

 Unique Needs of Female Offenders

    Female offenders have several unique needs and concerns different from their male counterparts. According to Greenfield and Snell (1999), women offenders have different needs than men, probably due to their disproportionate victimization from sexual or physical abuse. 

    They have histories of trauma and substance abuse, and their pathways to crime are based on survival of abuse and poverty (Bloom, 2000). They begin to use alcohol and other drugs at an early age, and there is indication that there is a link between their addiction and physical and sexual abuse (Covington, 1998).

    When they are besieged with problems of low self-esteem and the stigma and shame of incarceration, the separation from their children and/or the potential to lose their children will present their probation officer with supervision difficulties. Multiple studies indicate that they present with more complicated and severe mental health problems (DeCos tanzo, 1998).

Low Count of Female Offenders as Compare to Male

    Criminal justice supervision, programs, and services have been based on the male experience, mostly due to the higher number of men in the criminal justice system as compared to women. Therefore, many of the supervision and program needs of women have been ignored. Thus, there is very little empirical evidence indicating what works for female offenders to prevent relapse and recidivism (Bloom, 2000). 

    Programs dominated by men result in women's issues being minimized and they are less likely to be adequately ad- dressed. Women have been socialized to value relationships and connectedness; thus, developing a support system for them is congruent with their orientation. To prevent relapse and recidivism, strategies that are gender responsive need to be developed and implemented.

Service Levels and Nursing Needs

    Although the Federal Court system in San Antonio has recently adopted the Level of Service Inventory Revised (LSI-R) for use as the risk/need assessment tool for all per- sons who are in the probation phase, the tool has not been evaluated for validity and clarity with minority women. 

    This pilot represented the first step in a series of pilot studies preliminary for development of a mentoring support program directed to decrease recidivism among minority women offenders.

    The Level of Service Inventory Revised (LSI-R) is an instrument designed to provide a basis for correctional intervention programming that is both appropriate to the level of need for service and to the level of risk for recidivism (Andrews & Bonta, 1995). 

    It was unknown if the major and minor criminogenic targets reflected in the LSI-R were ap- propriate for minority women or if these women's recidivism risk can be accurately assessed.

    The psychometric properties of the Level of Service Inventory-Revised (LSI-R) were found to be reliable, had content validity, and were understood by the majority of participants. 

    This assessment tool will be effective in assessing the recidivism risk of minority female offenders who are in the community supervision phase of their federal sentencing.

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