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

Michigan State University

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