Women on Probation and Parole: A Feminist Critique of Community Programs and Services

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So far there has been very limited research on the effectiveness of gender-responsive as compared to traditional supervision of women felons on probation and parole. This volume, based on extensive longitudinal, qualitative data from probation and parole officers and from in-depth interviews with the women themselves, fills this gap.

Merry Morash has based her study on data from two counties in the same state that differed markedly in their approaches to supervision. Gender Responsive County emphasized identifying and meeting a wide range of needs unique or common to women offenders. Traditional County emphasized compliance with rules and similar treatment for women and men. Within this comparative frame, Morash discusses life issues of women offenders, including dangerous places where they live, relationships with partners and children, and reliance on a mix of criminal and prosocial support networks. She documents change and demonstrates how a dedicated and innovative team of probation and parole officers apply a gender-responsive approach to produce positive outcomes for women addicted to drugs or dependent on destructive and abusive partners.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A very well-written but highly technical and detailed research monograph that will mainly be of interest to those criminology scholars studying what Morash calls ‘gender-responsive probation and parole.’ Recommended.”—Choice

“This book makes an important contribution in a field in which research and literature are quite sparse and would be particularly useful in courses on gender and criminal justice and forensic social work. It is well worth reading for the detailed descriptions it provides of gender-responsive and traditional community supervision and nuanced exploration of their differences and effects.”—Sex Roles: A Journal of Research

“Morash’s research sheds light on the benefits of intensive, gender-adaptive supervision in probation and parole. . . . Morash’s study reveals that there are women who benefit greatly from gender responsive services. In fact, it appears from her study that all people on probation and parole—whether female or male—could benefit from increased supervision and attentive supervising officers.” —Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice

"The text is valuable in that it is the first in-depth comparison between traditional and gender responsive programming for post-incarcerated women. It is an excellent beginning."—Gender & Society

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Product Details

Meet the Author

MERRY MORASH is a professor in the School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University. She is an American Society of Criminology Fellow and recipient of its Division on Women and Crime distinguished scholar award.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

1 Introduction Research Purposes and Design l

Part I The Women on Probation and Parole

2 Dominant Crimes 27

3 Women's Characteristics by Dominant Crime Subgroup 38

Part II Outcomes in the Two Counties

4 Drug Users Who Fail 63

5 Supervision for Women Using Drugs but Not Failing 85

6 Positive Changes for Substance-Centered Women 109

7 Keeping Women off Drugs 120

8 Supervision for Women without Drug Problems 132

9 Conclusion Key Findings and Implications 143


Appendix A Survey Questions for Supervising Officers 163

Appendix B Interview Questions for Women on Probation and Parole 165

References 171

Index 181

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