Home > Uncategorized > Treating Women’s Mental Health in Prison

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has launched a pilot program, Beyond Violence, in two women’s-only facilities to help the prisoners deal with past trauma.  Beyond Violence provides the women with group therapy opportunities to address mental health concerns that comes with the violence that they have experienced.

According to the article by Al Jazeera, “while women are a small proportion of the total U.S. prison population, the rates of mental health disorders among incarcerated women is much higher than that of incarcerated men. Nationwide, 73 percent of women in state prisons had a mental health problem in 2006, the latest year for which data are available, compared with 55 percent of men. In federal prisons, 61 percent of women suffer from mental health problems, compared to 44 percent of men.”

Beyond Violence is a unique program because it helps women work through their trauma and understand how it relates to their incarceration, rather than focusing on how to prevent future crimes. The article cites Michigan State University’s research on Beyond Violence, where the results showed a decrease in anxiety, depression, PTSD, as well as anger and aggression. Professor and RCGV member, Dr. Sheryl Kubiak spoke about the lasting effects of the program, stating that the effects were still present after a year.

The full article can he found here, and our previous posts on Beyond Violence can be found at these links:

Assessment of Incarcerated Women’s Need for Treatment and Programming

Testing a Gender Specific Trauma Intervention for Incarcerated Women

Promising Findings for Violence Prevention for Incarcerated Women

About RCGV

MSU’s Research Consortium on Gender-Based Violence faculty and staff are dedicated to research and outreach initiatives related to ending and preventing gender-based violence and improving the community response to survivors. RCGV faculty are committed to mentoring the next generation of gender-based violence researchers by providing substantial educational and employment opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students.

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a significant and widespread social problem internationally, devastating adults, children, families and societies across the globe. It includes any form of harm that is both a consequence and cause of gender power inequities. It can be physical, psychological, sexual, economic, or sociocultural, and includes but is not limited to sexual abuse, rape, intimate partner abuse, incest, sexual harassment, stalking, femicide, trafficking, gendered hate crimes and dowry abuse. Gender-based violence intersects with race-based, class-based or religiously oppressive forms of abuse, and cross-cuts many other social problems (e.g., poverty, substance abuse, mental and physical health, crime).

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