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Working with Female Offenders: A Gender Sensitive Approach

ISBN: 978-1-118-01213-0
320 pages
September 2010
Working with Female Offenders: A Gender Sensitive Approach (1118012135) cover image
Praise for Working with Female Offenders

"Encyclopedic in scope and full of very relevant work drawn from the fields of biology, psychology, criminology, and corrections, this book is a must-read for those working with girl and women offenders."
Meda Chesney-Lind, Professor, Women's Studies University of Hawaii at Manoa

"In this timely and thoughtful book, van Wormer provides a gender-sensitive lens through which the reader can examine pathways to female criminality, a global perspective on female crime and punishment, and innovative treatment approaches. This book is a must-have for any student or professional who wishes to truly impact and empower the lives of female offenders."
David W. Springer, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, School of Social Work The University of Texas at Austin

"This book is timely in light of promising developments that are taking place at every level of the criminal justice system. It is a must-read for policymakers, practitioners, academics, and students in criminal justice, social work, and other related fields."
Barbara E. Bloom, Professor, Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies Sonoma State University, California

The first book to combine elements from the social work, counseling, and criminology fields to create a framework tailored to working with female offenders

Taking into account the special needs of girls and women within a system designed by men for male offenders, Working with Female Offenders offers counselors, correctional officers, lawyers, probation officers—in short, anyone who works in some capacity with female offenders–an evidence-based, gentler approach for working effectively and successfully with girls and women in trouble with the law.

Working with Female Offenders provides coverage devoted to the nature of female crime and to the institutional settings in which much of the female-specific programming is designed to take place. This timely volume equips professionals with proven counseling strategies tailored to fit this population.

Practical guidelines are included for case management interventions, teaching skills of communication and assertiveness, and anger and stress management for female offender populations, as well as:

  • A strengths/empowerment/restorative framework for counseling women in crisis

  • Narratives from personal interviews with female offenders and correctional counselors

  • Discussion of controversial topics such as prison homosexuality, AIDS in prison, girls in gangs, and women on death row

  • Examples of successful, innovative programs for female offenders from the United States and abroad

Working with Female Offenders addresses the unique challenges of female offenders and those who treat them, and provides a much needed addition to the literature on innovative programming for female offenders.

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Preface vi

Acknowledgments xiv

About the Author xv

Part I: Gender-Sensitive versus Gender-Neutral 1

Chapter 1: A Gendered Approach 3

Part II: Pathways to Crime 23

Chapter 2: Traditional and Gender-Sensitive Treatment for Delinquent Girls 25

Chapter 3: The Nature of Women's Crime 63

Part III: Working in Correctional Institutions 97

Chapter 4: Women in Prison 99

Chapter 5: Gender-Sensitive Programming within Institutional Settings 139

Part IV: Skills for Correctional Counseling 185

Chapter 6: Counseling the Female Offender 187

Chapter 7: Teaching Life Skills and Promoting Healing 219

Epilogue 257

References 263

Index 291

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KATHERINE VAN WORMER is a Professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of Northern Iowa. She has also taught in the departments of sociology and criminal justice. Van Wormer is the author of fourteen books and numerous book chapters and journal articles. Among her scholarship awards, she has won the McKay Faculty Research Award, the Faculty Excellence Award, and the Outstanding Scholarship Award.
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  • Practical guidelines for case managment interventions
  • Case examples, stories, and anecdotes from female prisoners and correctional counselors
  • Sidebars on controversial topics about female offenders
  • Includes examples of successful innovative programs for female offenders from the US, Canada, UK, and New Zealand
  • Creates a strengths, empowerment, and restorative framework for counseling female offenders on anger management, communication, stress management, and other issues
  • Contains easy-to-follow treatment guidelines
  • Features evidence-based research on treatment intervention protocols
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"This book is a comprehensive, compelling text in which Katherine van Wormer artfully addresses areas that are absent from the literature on criminal justice and the helping professions as they relate to the special needs of girls and women offenders.... Noting that 'a paradigm shift is in the wind,' the book is brilliantly constructed as it underscores the contradictions and paradoxes within the penal system.... The author's writing style is a notable strength as she convincingly advocates for a multidimensional, gender-sensitive approach while she systematically dissects the micro- and macrolevel dynamics that affect policy, programs, and research on female offenders." (Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, February 2012)

"We have long known that gender matters in women's crime. Dr. van Wormer's wonderfully rich and detailed work clearly establishes that gender matters in quality correctional programming as well. Encyclopedic in scope and full of very relevant work drawn from the fields of biology, psychology, criminology and corrections, this book is a must read for those working with girl and women offenders."
Meda Chesney-Lind, Professor, Women's Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa

"In the timely and thoughtful book, Working with Female Offenders, Dr. van Wormer provides a gender-sensitive lens through which the reader can examine pathways to female criminality, a global perspective on female crime and punishment, and innovative treatment approaches. This book is a must-have for any student or professional who wishes to truly impact and empower the lives of female offenders."
David W. Springer, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin, School of Social Work

"This book is timely in light of promising developments that are taking place at every level of the criminal justice system, the trend toward effective treatment and away from mandatory prison sentences for drug offenders. It is a must read for policy makers, practitioners, academics, and students in criminal justice, social work, and other related fields."
Barbara E. Bloom, Professor, Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies, Sonoma State University, California

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