Addressing the unique challenges facing incarcerated women
Why do women in prison lack the support networks that are often available to men? How can incarcerated women get better treatment for trauma, mental health issues, substance abuse, and gender-specific health matters? What role do socioeconomic disparities play in the way the interests of certain demographics are overlooked?
A woman’s prison experience differs from that of her male counterpart and demands its own unique perspective when it comes to discussions on reform. Criminology expert and BU professor Dr. Danielle Rousseau has spent the past decade working as a forensic mental health therapist in correctional facilities for both men and women.
“Women are often overlooked because on the surface, they make up a small part of the criminal justice puzzle,” Dr. Rousseau says. “In reality, though, women’s experience in the criminal justice system has an immense effect on future generations of our society. The incarceration of women has an immediate and direct impact on their children. Thus, women’s incarceration can result in a cycle of systemic involvement from one generation to the next. We need alternative pathways and examples. We need trauma-informed approaches that are intergenerational.”
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