Assisting Women Throughout the Justice Continuum

Assisting Women Throughout the Justice Continuum

Women are the fastest-growing population in U.S. correctional facilities and efforts to better assess their risks and needs, improve prison conditions and service delivery, and support community reentry require coordination by key stakeholders and a strong foundation of collaboration within affected communities, a report from the Urban Institute finds. The report, Assisting Women Throughout the Justice Continuum (27 pages, PDF), examined the implementation and early outcomes in Cumberland County, Maine, of Project Safe Release, a program designed to better identify the needs of women entering jail, understand their histories, and connect them to appropriate services before and after release. Funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as part of its Safety and Justice Challenge, the study found that cross-trainings and knowledge sharing among agencies, changes to the pretrial intake screening process, regular reviews by advocates for victims of domestic violence, and better data collection upfront improved access to trauma services for incarcerated women and more effective supervision of women on pretrial release. According to the report, Project Safe Release helped pretrial services providers gain a more nuanced understanding of women's victimization experiences, lowered barriers to pretrial release, and improved case management and service coordination.