National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

National Study of Innovative and Promising Programs for Women Offenders, 1994-1995 (ICPSR 2788) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

The purpose of this study was to conduct a national-scale evaluation of correctional facilities housing female offenders in order to assess the effectiveness of current programs, including alternative sanctions and treatment programs, and management practices. The goal was to gather information on "what works for which women" with respect to the program characteristics most related to positive outcomes. The first stage of the study consisted of gathering the opinions of administrators in state departments of corrections, including state-level administrators and administrators in institutions for women (Part 1). Administrators from jails that housed women were also interviewed (Part 2). Data collected for Parts 1 and 2 focused on attitudes toward the influx of women into jails and prisons, the needs of incarcerated women, and management and program approaches for meeting those needs. Respondents were asked to identify programs that in their view stood out as especially effective in meeting the needs of incarcerated women. From this list of nominated programs, researchers conducted 62 in-depth telephone interviews with administrators of programs located in jails, prisons, and the community (Part 3). A supplement to this study consisted of telephone interviews with 11 program directors who headed mental health programs that appeared to be "state of the art" for incarcerated women (Part 4). Variables in Parts 1-4 that concern the nominated programs include the underlying principles guiding the programs, whom the programs targeted, what types of staff were employed by the programs, the most positive effects of the programs, and whether program evaluations had been completed. Program effort variables found in Parts 1-4 cover whether the programs focused on trying to treat substance abuse, stop child abuse, provide women with nontraditional job skills, parenting skills, HIV/AIDS education, and life skills, change cognitive thinking, and/or promote self-esteem. Several variables common to Parts 1-3 include whether the programs provided women with follow-up/transitional help, helped to stimulate pre-release planning, allowed visits between women and children, or used ex-offenders, ex-substance users, volunteers, or outside community groups to work with the women. Variables focusing on the types of assessment tools used cover medical assessments, VD screening, reading/math ability screening, mental health screening, substance abuse screening, needs regarding children screening, and victim-spouse abuse screening. Variables pertaining to institution management include background knowledge needed to manage a facility, the types of management styles used for managing female offenders, security and other operational issues, problems with cross-sex supervision, and handling complaints. Similar variables across Parts 1, 2, and 4 deal with the impact of private or state funding, such as respondents' views on the positive and negative outcomes of privatization and of using state services. Both Parts 1 and 2 contain information on respondents' views regarding the unique needs of women offenders, which programs were especially for women, and which program needs were more serious than others. Planning variables in Parts 1 and 2 include whether there were plans to have institutions link with other state agencies, and which programs were most in need of expansion. Further common variables concerned the influx of women in prison, including how administrators were dealing with the increasing number of women offenders, whether the facilities were originally designed for women, how the facilities adapted for women, and the number of women currently in the facilities. In addition, Part 1 contains unique variables on alternative, intermediate sanction options for women, such as the percentage of women sent to day supervision/treatment and sent to work release centers, why it was possible to use intermediate sanctions, and how decisions were made to use intermediate sanctions. Variables dealing with funding and the provision of services to women include the type of private contractor or government agency that provided drug treatment, academic services, and vocational services to women, and the nature of the medical and food services provided to women. Variables unique to Part 2 pertain to the type of offender the jail housed, including whether the jurisdiction had a separate facility for pretrial or sentenced offenders, the total rated capacity of the jail, the average daily population of pretrial females, whether the jail was currently housing state inmates, and the impact on local inmates of being housed with state inmates. Variables concerning classification and assessment focused on the purpose of the classification process for female offenders, whether the classification process was different for male and female offenders, and a description of the process used. Variables specific to Part 3 deal with characteristics of the participants, such as whether program participants were involved in a case management system, the approximate number of women and men participating in the programs, whether offenders were tried and awaiting sentence or were on probation, and the number of hours a week that individuals participated in the program. Program structure variables include whether the program was culture- or gender-specific, restrictions on program participants, and who established the restrictions. Programming strategy variables cover identifying strategies used for meeting the needs of women offenders with short sentences, strategies for women with long sentences, and what stood in the way of greater use of intermediate sanctions. Part 4 contains variables on the size of the mental health program/unit, including the number of beds in the mental health unit, the number of beds set aside for different types of diagnoses, and the number of women served annually. Diagnosis variables provide information on who was responsible for screening women for mental health needs, whether women were re-evaluated at any time other than at intake, and the most common mental health problems of women in the unit. Variables on running the program include whether the program/unit worked with private or public hospitals, the factors that hindered coordination of services among local or state facilities, the types of services affected by budget constraints, and the strategies used to prevent women from harming themselves and others. Staffing variables cover the number of psychologists, social workers, nurses, and correctional officers that worked in the mental health unit. Demographic variables were similar for all four data files. These include the institution level, the type of respondent interviewed, respondents' gender and educational background, and the number of years they had been in their positions, were employed in corrections, and had worked in women's facilities.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  State- and Institution-Level Administrator Survey Data - Download All Files (9.8 MB)
Documentation:
DS2:  Jail Administrator Survey Data - Download All Files (3.3 MB)
Documentation:
DS3:  Program Administrator Survey Data - Download All Files (1.7 MB)
Documentation:
DS4:  Mental Health Program Survey Data Supplement - Download All Files (1.4 MB)

Study Description

Citation

Morash, Merry, and Timothy Bynum. NATIONAL STUDY OF INNOVATIVE AND PROMISING PROGRAMS FOR WOMEN OFFENDERS, 1994-1995. ICPSR version. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University [producer], 1995. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02788.v1

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)

Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (92-IJ-CX-K027)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   child abuse, correctional facilities, female inmates, female offenders, inmate programs, job training, needs assessment, parenting skills, prerelease programs, program evaluation, self esteem, substance abuse, treatment outcomes, treatment programs

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1994--1995

Date of Collection:  

  • 1994--1995

Unit of Observation:   Part 1: States. Parts 2-4: Individuals.

Universe:   All correctional institutions holding women offenders in the United States.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The user guide, codebooks, and data collection instruments are provided as Portable Document Format (PDF) files. The PDF file was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Website.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   Despite recent increases in the female offender population, very little evaluation research had been conducted on the effectiveness of institutional programming with this population, and much remained unknown about what made programs and practices effective for women offenders. The limited evaluation research juxtaposed with the increasing number of incarcerated women, and the multifaceted nature of problems that contribute to their criminality, underscored the need for further research. Several unique characteristics of the female inmate population are relevant to programming for and management of institutions: (1) a high proportion of women report prior sexual or physical abuse, (2) a high proportion of women report being under the influence of a drug at the time of their offense (with over half reporting daily use of drugs the month before their offense, and several reporting daily use of a major drug that month), (3) there have been recent, rapid increases in the proportion of sentenced women with a drug offense charge, (4) the majority of women in prison have children under the age of 18 years old, and most of them had children living with them before coming to prison, (5) less than half of the women had been working during the month before their arrest, and (6) a markedly higher proportion of women than men are serving time for having killed a family member, ex-spouse, or other intimate. The situation for women in jails may be even more difficult than for women in prisons. The inadequacy of the mental health system and the overcrowding of the prison system have resulted in large numbers of women, with a variety of problems, spilling over into jails. Many jailed women are housed in a "women's unit" within a facility primarily designed for men. The purpose of this study was to generate a national-scale evaluation of correctional facilities housing female offenders in order to assess the effectiveness of current programs, including alternative sanctions and treatment programs, and management practices. The goal was to gather information on "what works for which women" with respect to the program characteristics most related to positive outcomes.

Study Design:   This study was designed to be a national-scale evaluation of correctional institutions. Part 1 consisted of a comprehensive assessment of the opinions of administrators in state departments of corrections, including state-level administrators and administrators in institutions for women. A state-level correctional administrator was surveyed by mail in all 50 states. For the follow-up telephone survey, in seven states researchers were able to interview the commissioner or deputy director of corrections. In another 19 states, the interview was done with a high-level administrator with responsibility for areas such as planning, programming, or programming for women, and in eight states information on the overall system of corrections was collected from an individual other than an administrator at a woman's facility. At the institution level, mailed surveys were received from 65 prison facilities and telephone interviews were conducted with administrators in 54 of these. The criteria for excluding some of the 65 prisons from the telephone interview was that they were located in the same state as another comparable institution that had already been chosen for a phone interview. Data from the institution-level surveys are attached to the record of the state where the institution was located. For Part 2, interviews were conducted with 54 jail administrators from county/city jurisdictions that housed women offenders. Data collected included mail and telephone reports of responses to the influx of women into jails and prisons, the needs of incarcerated women, and management and program approaches to meeting those needs. Respondents were asked to identify programs that in their view stood out as especially effective in meeting the needs of incarcerated women. From this list of nominated programs, researchers conducted 62 in-depth telephone interviews with administrators of programs located in jails, prisons, and the community (Part 3). Program administrator survey questions were designed to generate information on these effective programs, how they began, availability of evaluation results, and staff. The main issues considered in the selection of programs from treatment areas for in-depth interviews were: (1) representation of programming or administrative approach to address the range of frequently identified problems, (2) availability of evaluation results, and (3) evidence of program relevance to special needs, for example, related to unique problems of women, race, ethnicity, or type of crime. A direct attempt was also made to sample programs that were neutral on stereotypes or that challenged women's dependence or limitation to traditional roles. A supplement to this study consisted of telephone interviews with 11 program directors who headed mental health programs that appeared to be "state of the art" for incarcerated women (Part 4). For all parts, mail surveys concentrated on factual information, while phone surveys more often focused on obtaining opinions and descriptions of practices, the needs of offenders, and implementation difficulties. Much of the data was collected as qualitative information, then coded into categorical information.

Sample:   Part 1: Not applicable. Part 2: Stratified random sampling. Parts 3 and 4: Nonprobability sample of programs nominated by state administrators.

Data Source:

Parts 1 and 2: mailback questionnaires and telephone interviews, Parts 3 and 4: telephone interviews.

Description of Variables:   Variables in Parts 1-4 that concern the nominated programs include the underlying principles guiding the programs, whom the programs targeted, what types of staff were employed by the programs, the most positive effects of the programs, and whether program evaluations had been completed. Program effort variables found in Parts 1-4 cover whether the programs focused on trying to treat substance abuse, stop child abuse, provide women with nontraditional job skills, parenting skills, HIV/AIDS education, and life skills, change cognitive thinking, and/or promise self-esteem. Several variables common to Parts 1-3 include whether the programs provided women with follow-up/transitional help, helped to stimulate pre-release planning, allowed visits between women and children, or used ex-offenders, ex-substance users, volunteers, or outside community groups to work with the women. Variables focusing on the types of assessment tools used cover medical assessments, VD screening, reading/math ability screening, mental health screening, substance abuse screening, needs regarding children screening, and victim-spouse abuse screening. Variables pertaining to institution management include background knowledge needed to manage a facility, the types of management styles used for managing female offenders, security and other operational issues, problems with cross-sex supervision, and handling complaints. Similar variables across Parts 1, 2, and 4 deal with the impact of private or state funding, such as respondents' views the positive outcomes of privatization and of using state services. Both Parts 1 and 2 contain information on respondents' views regarding the unique needs of women offenders, which programs were especially for women, and which program needs were more serious than others. Planning variables in Parts 1 and 2 include whether there were plans to have institutions link with other state agencies, and which programs were most in need of expansion. Further common variables concerned the influx of women in prison, including, how administrators were dealing with the increasing number of women offenders, whether the facilities were originally designed for women, how the facilities adapted for women, and the number of women currently in the facilities. In addition, Part 1 contains unique variables on alternative, intermediate sanction options for women, such as, the percentage of women sent to day supervision/treatment and sent to work release centers, why it was possible to use intermediate sanctions, and how decisions were made to use intermediate sanctions. Variables dealing with funding and the provision of services to women include the type of private contractor or government agency that provided drug treatment, academic services, and vocational services to women, and the nature of the medical and food services provided to women. Variables unique to Part 2 pertain to the type of offender the jail housed, including whether the jurisdiction had a separate facility for pretrial or sentenced offenders, the total rated capacity of the jail, the average daily population of pretrial females, whether the jail was currently housing state inmates, and the impact on local inmates of being housed with state inmates. Variables concerning classification and assessment focused on the purpose of the classification process for female offenders, whether the classification process was different for male and female offenders, and a description of the process used. Variables specific to Part 3 deal with characteristics of the participants, such as whether program participants was involved in a case management system, the approximate number of women and men participating in the programs, whether offenders were tried and awaiting sentence or were on probation, and the number of hours a week that individuals participated in the program. Program structure variables include whether the program was culture or gender-specific, restrictions on program participants, and who established the restrictions. Programming strategy variables cover identifying strategies used for meeting the needs of women offenders with short sentences, strategies for women with long sentences, and what stood in the way of greater use of intermediate sanctions. Part 4 contains variables on the size of the mental health program/unit, including the number of beds in the mental health unit, the number of beds set aside for different types of diagnoses, and the number of women served annually. Diagnosis variables provide information on who was responsible for screening women for mental health needs, whether women were re-evaluated at any time other than at intake, and the most common mental health problem of women in the unit. Variables on running the program include whether the program/unit worked with private or public hospitals, the factors that hindered coordination of services among local or state facilities, the types of services affected by budget constraints, and the strategies used to prevent women from harming themselves and others. Staffing variables cover the number of psychologists, social workers, nurses, and correctional officers that worked in the mental health unit. Demographic variables were similar for all four data files. These include the institution level, the type of respondent interviewed, respondents' gender and educational background, and the number of years they had been in their positions, were employed in corrections, and had worked in women's facilities.

Response Rates:   Part 1: The response rate from state administrators was 100 percent for both the mail survey and the phone survey. Institution-level administrators had a response rate of 93 percent for the mail survey and 96 percent for the phone survey. Part 2: The response rate from jail administrators was 89 percent for the mail survey and 93 percent for the phone survey. Part 3: Program administrators had a response rate of 87 percent for the telephone interview. Part 4: The response rate for the mental health program survey was 100 percent for the telephone interview.

Presence of Common Scales:   Several Likert-type scales were used.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-03-30 File UG2788.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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