Wright - Predicting the Prison Misconducts of Women...

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310 Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume 23 Number 4 November 2007 310-340 © 2007 Sage Publications 10.1177/1043986207309595 http://ccj.sagepub.com hosted at http://online.sagepub.com Predicting the Prison Misconducts of Women Offenders The Importance of Gender- Responsive Needs Emily M. Wright University of Cincinnati, Ohio Emily J. Salisbury Portland State University, Oregon Patricia Van Voorhis University of Cincinnati, Ohio The needs of women offenders may be qualitatively different than the needs of male offenders. The “pathways” and “gender-responsive” perspectives of female offending have recently garnered attention in both practitioner and scholarly are- nas. The pathways perspective focuses attention on the co-occurrence and effects of trauma, substance abuse, dysfunctional relationships, and mental illness on female offending, while the gender-responsive perspective also suggests that prob- lems related to parenting, childcare, and self-concept issues are important needs of women offenders. Few studies have examined whether or not these are risk factors for poor prison adjustment. With a sample of 272 incarcerated women offenders in Missouri, we examine how each gender-responsive need is related to six- and twelve-month prison misconducts, and whether the inclusion of such needs to tra- ditional static custody classification items increases the predictive validity of such tools. Results suggest that women offenders do, in fact, display gender-responsive risk factors in prison. Keywords : correctional classification; criminogenic needs; gender-responsive; needs; risk factors; women offenders Classification and Institutional Misconduct of Women Offenders: The Importance of Needs Institutional custody classification tools have been adopted by correctional agencies throughout the United States (Van Voorhis & Presser, 2001) and are used to inform offender placement into community, minimum-, medium-, and maximum-security
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Wright et al. / The Importance of Needs 311 custody levels. For prisons, placement into an appropriate custody level facilitates safety, housing, privileges, movement, and programming (Brennan, 1998; Van Voorhis & Presser, 2001). Because male offenders make up the majority of prisoners in the United States, it is not surprising that custody classification systems were developed from male samples and designed with male offenders in mind (Salisbury, Van Voorhis, & Spiropolous, in press). Until recently these classification systems were applied to women offenders with little regard to their applicability and appropriateness. However, the increasing number of women offenders being sentenced to prison and the increasing attention granted to the “gender-responsive” needs of females has amplified scrutiny over the useful- ness of such systems for women offenders. Gender-responsive scholars suggest that institutional classification systems that were designed for male offenders are less useful for women offenders and in many cases are invalid. They contend that females
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This note was uploaded on 08/08/2010 for the course COR 850 taught by Professor Matthews,b during the Fall '08 term at E. Kentucky.

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Wright - Predicting the Prison Misconducts of Women...

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