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Numbers and Characteristics of Drug-Using Women in the Criminal Justice System: Implications for Treatment

NCJ Number
Journal of Drug Issues Volume: 23 Issue: 1 Dated: (Winter 1993) Pages: 7-30
Date Published
24 pages
This article reviews various data sources to determine the number and characteristics of drug-using women in the criminal justice system and draws implications for treatment.

Many of the life experiences and needs of women offenders differ from those of men offenders; however, criminal justice institutional practices, services, and facilities have been fashioned for men. Currently, few jails and prisons have separate inmate classification and intake procedures for women, even though women have unique needs and manifest different behavior from men in custody. A large percentage of jails and prisons do not provide for the medical and psychological problems of chemically dependent women. Although most women offenders have children for whom they are or were responsible, few institutions provide facilities and child-care services needed to facilitate visits with children. Even though most women offenders are single mothers who obtain little or no financial help from the children's fathers, vocational training within corrections tends to reinforce traditional low-paying occupations for women. Although improvements in drug treatment services for drug-abusing women offenders are occurring in various sections of the criminal justice system, these fall short of addressing the variety of needs of these women. Further improvement will depend on a full recognition of the growing population of women offenders with drug problems and an effort to strengthen or create linkages among the various types of services provided to women offenders and between correctional and community-based treatment programs. 6 notes, 38 references, and appended tabular data

Date Published: January 1, 1993