Gender-Responsive and Trauma-Informed Prison Operations


The prevailing research suggests that women in the justice system do more poorly than men across recidivism outcomes. Partnering with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the National Resource Center on Justice-Involved Women (NRCJIW) is working to advance the use of gender-responsive and evidence-based interventions with women in prisons, with the goal of improving outcomes.

Our Approach

This project provides NRCJIW a unique opportunity to help advance BOP’s implementation of programs that target the specific needs of women. Specifically, NRCJIW is:

  • Using the Gender-Informed Practice Assessment (GIPA) in a women’s facility to explore how closely policy and practices align with the research on women
  • Using the findings from the GIPA to inform the development of a gender-specific and trauma-informed staff training, a training for leadership staff to build and support staff competencies, and coaching materials
  • Holding a series of coaching sessions that assist supervisors to further develop their skill and expertise in supporting staff
  • Working with the warden and supervisory staff to model interventions that support trauma-informed communication across shift briefings
  • Working with designated BOP staff to develop project metrics and to assess whether project outcomes are achieved
  • Providing technical assistance and consultation to address any issues, challenges, or new requests that may arise

The Impact

A number of short- and long-term changes are anticipated that will help BOP achieve its goal:

  • Through the GIPA, the facility will have a clearer understanding of its strengths, challenges, and opportunities across facility management, operations and programs
  • As a result of training and ongoing coaching, staff will better understand the pathways that place women at risk for justice involvement and be able to adopt gender-responsive, trauma-informed, strengths-based approaches that facilitate growth and change
  • Facility leadership training will strengthen leadership’s ability to support and build staff competence
  • The development of project metrics will allow BOP to continuously review outcomes and impacts and to make adjustments as needed