Gender-Informed Practices Assessment (GIPA)


In 2008, the NRCJIW, in collaboration with the National Institute of Corrections, developed the Gender-Informed Practice Assessment (GIPA) to expand the use of gender and evidence-based practices in correctional facilities for women. The GIPA represents a compilation of the research and promising practices across multiple facets of facility management and operations with women in custody. The GIPA protocol is conducted on-site by a team of external evaluators and provides a baseline measure of how closely agency policies and practices align with the prevailing research. 

The NRCJIW is currently working with CORE Associates to complete a GIPA in Washington State. NRCJIW staff are also working with the Bureau of Prisons to conduct a GIPA in a Federal Correctional Institution for Women.

The GIPA instrument assesses policies and practices across twelve domains:

  1. Leadership and Philosophy
  2. External Support
  3. Facility
  4. Management and Operations
  5. Staffing and Training
  6. Facility Culture
  7. Offender Management (Sanctions and Discipline)
  8. Assessment and Classification 
  9. Case and Transitional Planning 
  10. Research-Based Program Areas 
  11. Services
  12. Quality Assurance and Evaluation

The GIPA assessment relies on a multi-method approach that includes: 

  1. Staff Interviews
  2. Focus Groups (of staff and women)
  3. Observations
  4. Surveys (of staff and women)
  5. Document Review

Our Approach

NRCJIW’s work on this project includes: 

  • Preparing for the assessment by working with the facility to identify an implementation team to assist with logistics and developing an on-site schedule
  • Conducting a multi-day site visit, and completing findings and scores within the GIPA
  • Contributing to a report that identifies strengths, challenges, and opportunities, and that identifies priority targets that can be integrated into a strategic plan
  • Assisting with the development of a GIPA strategic plan

The Impact

The NRCJIW has helped to facilitate the GIPA in seven states. Sites that have implemented this assessment have reported the following benefits: the adoption of actuarial assessments that include the pathways research on women; an increase in programs and services demonstrated to decrease recidivism; a reduction in disciplinary reports; and improved safety and interactions between staff and women in custody.