Supporting Incarcerated Women

Women are the fastest-growing incarcerated population in the United States. Despite this, correctional institutions often lack awareness and understanding of the victimization that many—if not most—incarcerated women experience before incarceration. Many women bring past trauma into prison settings, where they often experience similar violence, abuse, and trauma. In 2017, the National Institute of Justice funded the Urban Institute—and its partners the Center for Effective Public Policy, the Correctional Leaders Association, and the National Center for Victims of Crime—to conduct a  national scan of practice to examine the extent to which correctional facilities provide services and programming that address incarcerated women’s prior and current trauma and victimization experiences. The following reports and blogs summarize the critical findings of that work, including actionable recommendations departments of corrections can adapt to reduce trauma and victimization for incarcerated women.

Addressing Trauma and Victimization in Women’s Prisons
Adapting Custodial Practices to Reduce Trauma for Incarcerated Women

Executive Summaries
Addressing Trauma and Victimization in Women’s Prisons: Executive Summary [PDF]
Adapting Custodial Practices to Reduce Trauma for Incarcerated Women: Executive Summary

Blog Posts
Prisons Are Traumatizing, but It Is Possible to Reduce Some of Their Harm
How Community-Based Organizations Serve Trauma Survivors in Women’s Prisons
How Women’s Prisons Can Reduce Trauma for Parents and Pregnant People in Custody
Stories from Incarcerated Women Show the Importance of Furthering Trauma- Informed Care while Prioritizing Decarceration