Rebuilding lives; keeping women and children together
Women offenders have special needs that often are not addressed during incarceration. As a result, transitioning and reintegrating from long-term sentences, in particular, can be daunting and even impossible for many.
In 2019, there were roughly 3801 women released from state prison in North Carolina, a decrease by nearly 145 women from the previous year (NC DPS - Office of Research & Planning, 2020). Of these women, more than 80% were mothers of minor children and had the primary responsibility for their care prior to and following incarceration. In addition, ex-incarcerated women are more likely than their male counterparts to experience higher levels of poverty, homelessness and abuse immediately following a jail or prison term. Thus, making the post-prison transition much more difficult.
Research suggests that focusing on the differences between male and female pathways to criminality and applying gender-specific intervention, yield better results. Overall, the end result of these specialized practices contribute to more successful outcomes for women ex-offenders. The implementation of gender-responsive practices also help reduce female recidivism as well as the desire to become involved in the criminal justice system, which in turn benefits women and their families, the community and society as a whole.
The United States is the world's leader in incarceration.