Gender-Responsive Treatment and the Need to Examine Female Inmates' Lives in Prison and Prior to Prison


McDonald, Danielle. 2008. "Gender-Responsive Treatment and the Need to Examine Female Inmates' Lives in Prison and Prior to Prison." Corrections Compendium 33 (6): 7-8,10-12,29-30.

Author: Danielle McDonald


This study found that drug-/alcohol-addicted female inmates often began using and eventually abusing substances due to traumatic events in their lives such as abuse, neglect, or the loss of a child. Currently, the main reason for female recidivism is drug relapse. It is important for treatment practitioners to be aware of these past incidents, so the root of the addiction problem can be explored and worked through with an outcome of reduced recidivism. Women in the study also reported the importance of relationships with their significant other and children even after their incarceration. These relationships can be examined during treatment to help the women sustain relationships that are positive forces in their lives. For women, substance abuse is one outlet to deny or avoid problems in their lives, such as victimization. By delving into women’s pre-prison lives, the root of their substance abuse can be identified for later treatment needs. It is important also to examine the problems women face once in prison so treatment can address these issues as well. In an attempt to provide a better understanding of women’s lives prior to prison and the challenges they faced once incarcerated, interviews were conducted with women in the therapeutic community at a medium security prison located in rural Pennsylvania the houses approximately 2,000 women.

Keywords: prisons, Drug Abuse

Topics: Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, Justice Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2008

© 2024 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at