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The Intersection of Domestic Violence and Criminal Justice Involvement

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Women's Prison Association

on 11 September 2014

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Transcript of The Intersection of Domestic Violence and Criminal Justice Involvement

Comparing CJI women to the general population
Domestic Violence Survivors
Women at the Crossroads:
Who are we talking about?
Intimate Partner Abuse
Histories of Abuse
Women's Pathways to Crime
What we know about how women end up in the criminal justice system
Studies also show that girls who have been sexually abused are more likely to be arrested as adults for prostitution.
A 1999 study found that 82% of women at New York’s Bedford Hills Correctional Facility had a childhood history of severe physical and/or sexual abuse and that more than 90% had suffered physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes.
This study also found that 75% of the women had experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner during adulthood.
Numbers and Figures
At year-end 2007, there were more than 1.27 million women in prison or jail, or on parole or probation in the U.S.
As of 2009, approximately two-thirds of women in state prison were incarcerated for non-violent offenses including drug, property, or public order offenses.
African-American women are incarcerated at three times the rate for white women; Latina women at almost 1.6 times the rate for white women.
4% of women in state prisons, 3% of women in federal prisons, and about 5% of women in jail nationwide reported being pregnant at the time of their incarceration.
With Criminal Justice Involvement
histories of personal abuse
economic and social marginality
substance abuse and mental illness
histories of physical and sexual abuse in childhood and adulthood
abusive families
battering relationships
drugs as a coping mechanism
exposure to drug activity by family members and friends
PTSD related to former abuse
Disconnected from school, work and family
Severed social relations
Little formal work experience and education
Parental responsibilities
Dependent on public assistance
Increases likelihood of homelessness
Correlation between child welfare removal and criminal justice involvement
homelessness
relationships
Since 1845
CJI often comes about through relationships including pressure to participate in illegal activities i.e. drug trafficking)
Women are often introduced to drugs by partners
"In our experience, when women are incarcerated, we struggle with an overwhelming sense of defeat, desperation and hopelessness. We struggle with being separated from our children and families and have no sense of power over our own lives. Conversely, participating in community-based ATIs connects individuals to appropriate support services and helps to keep connections to families and communities. These types of programs promote a strong sense of hope for the future and a strong sense of connection that prison does not."
--WPA Women's Advocacy Project 2010 Recommendations
Criminalizing Women's & Girls' Efforts to Escape Violence
Girls are more likely to be incarcerated for running away, truancy or deemed in need of supervision

Early juvenile involvement in the CJS is highly predictive of adult involvement
Homeless women are at greater risk of arrest for offenses such as solicitation, loitering and disorderly conduct

Homeless women have often been displaced as a result of being abused, running away or forced onto the streets due to poverty, loss of housing, loss of benefits, escape from abusive intimate partners, mental illness and/or substance abuse
Addiction and drug offenses can be a coping response to abuse and violence

Efforts to support drug addiction can lead to CJI

High rates of addiction among incarcerated women
Women are left with few or no resources and turn to economic crimes such as larceny, forgery and fraud to support themselves, their children, self-medicating behaviors etc.

Abuse may force women into poverty and homelessness and may result in the commission of crimes
DV Survivor-defendants
Permanent CJ Record and Stigma*
Economics and Employment*
Housing and Relocation*
Family*
Immigration*
Civic Implications
Case Examples:
economic implications
reunification
housing
DVSJA
Resources & Contact Info
Collateral Consequences of CJI: through a DV lens
Women in prison are at least twice as likely as women in the general public to report childhood histories of physical or sexual abuse.
Women in prison are at least twice as likely as women in the general public to report childhood histories of physical or sexual abuse.
Where do we go from here?
Increased partnerships and cross-collaboration
i.e. conferences, training etc.
Linkage agreements
Identify new and strengthen current partnerships
Mentoring (i.e. WPA's WomenCare Program)
Increased knowledge and awareness
understanding the "good victim/perpetrator" paradox
Enhancement of DV services to incarcerated women
Policy and advocacy
including the voices of criminal justice involved women

Histories of childhood abuse
Experiences of Abuse in Lifetime
VAWnet.org
Gilfus, M. (2002, December). Women’s Experiences of Abuse as a Risk Factor for Incarceration. Harrisburg, PA: VAWnet, a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence/Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Retrieved 5/22/2012, from: https://www.vawnet.org

National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women

Women In Prison Project (Correctional Association)

U.S. Department of Justice. National Crime Victimization Survey. 2006-2010.

Cobbina, Jennifer E. PhD. From Prison to Home: Women’s Pathways In and Out of Crime. May 2009.

Women in Prison: A Fact Sheet. For the report, "Not Part of My Sentence: Violantions of the Human Rights of Women in Custody." Women's Human Rights Program, Amnesty International.

Gender Responsive Strategies: Research, Practice, and Guiding Principles for Women Offenders; by Barbara Bloom, Barbara Owen and Stephanie Covington; published the National Institute of Corrections; July 2003.

Bureau of Justice Statistics: http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=2230
Abigail Hopper Gibbons, WPA Founder
62% of women in state prisons are parents of children under 18. More than 64% of mothers in state prisons lived with their children before prison, compared to over 46% of men.
73% of women in state prisons either have symptoms or a diagnosis of mental illness and/or
were receiving treatment from a mental health professional in the past year, compared to 55% of men
In 2010, there were 112,822 women under the jurisdiction of state or federal correctional authorities in the U.S.
In 2005, nearly one in three reported committing their offense to support a drug addiction.
Is there a better answer than prison?
Q & A
110 Second Ave.
New York, NY 10003
(646) 292-7750
Safe places (shelter options for women with CJ histories and histories of substance abuse)
Comprehensive assessment and services that include CJ background
Advocacy for use of community-based criminal justice and ATI services
Use of diversion programs (non-prosecution) for prostituted and trafficked women
WPA CONTACT INFO
www.wpaonline.org
Implications for DV Providers:
"WPA, EXISTS TO HELP WOMEN WHO HAVE CRIMINAL HISTORIES CREATE LIVES THAT ARE NOT FOREVER DEFINED AND LIMITED BY THEIR CRIMES. MOST WOMEN GET TO JAIL WITH PASTS THAT INCLUDE VICTIMIZATION AND DRUG ABUSE, LESS THAN A HIGH-SCHOOL EDUCATION AND NO WORK EXPERIENCE. WPA HELPS WOMEN TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR PAST ACTIONS AND FIND THE COURAGE AND PERSEVERANCE TO NAVIGATE THROUGH NEW DOORWAYS TO OPPORTUNITY."
--Georgia Lerner, WPA Executive Director
result of:
severed social relations
economic vulnerability
addiction
abuse
23% more likely than homeless men to be victims of sexual abuse
A 1996 government study found that 93% of women convicted of killing intimates partners
(husbands, boyfriends or girlfriends) had been physically or sexually abused by an intimate.

In 2005, more than half of women in New York’s prisons for homicide offenses had experienced
abuse in their lives. Nearly one-quarter reported abuse by the victim of their crime.
Full transcript