Special Considerations in the Assessment and Treatment of Women in Jails

Jessica K. Pearson, Lauren E. Kois

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The rate of women incarcerated in the United States has increased 50% over the last two decades, and prevalence estimates indicate that approximately 110,000 women are detained in U.S. jails at any given time. In this chapter, we review incarcerated women’s behavioral health needs and how these needs can be addressed in jail settings. We delineate how high prevalence of trauma and substance use among women in jails should inform the implementation of gender-responsive interventions. In addition, we call attention to the relevance of pregnancy and childcare and underscore the need for correctional nursery programs that promote maternal and child well-being. We report on the evidence base for strategies intended to identify and meet the needs of this population, including special considerations for suicide and recidivism risk, motivational interviewing, Survivors Healing from Abuse-Recovery through Exposure (SHARE), Beyond Violence, dialectical behavior therapy, Seeking Safety, and holistic approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Mental Health Assessment and Treatment in Jails
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780197524824
ISBN (Print)9780197524794
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • gender-responsive interventions
  • incarcerated women
  • sexual assault
  • trauma
  • women’s risk-needs assessment


Dive into the research topics of 'Special Considerations in the Assessment and Treatment of Women in Jails'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this