Treating women incarcerated in or at-risk of restrictive placements: A statement of the problem and considerations for practice.


Although limited, extant research suggests that incarcerated women are more likely than men to be placed in restrictive housing (e.g., administrative or disciplinary segregation) for disruptive behaviors that are linked to psychiatric symptomology and interpersonal deficits. Yet, few scholarly works discuss specific interventions or recommendations for treating incarcerated women in or at-risk of segregation. In this paper, we address the extent to which criminogenic and mental health needs of incarcerated women likely apply to women often placed in segregation, offer considerations for treatment planning when working with this subpopulation, and describe the process of piloting a manualized program specifically developed for segregated clients with women in a state prison. Descriptive data on 18 program participants are reported. Among program completers (n = 10), reductions in emotional stability, wellness, and criminal attitudes were endorsed from pre- to post-treatments and all women were rule-violation free at 3-month follow-up. Although preliminary outcomes are promising, controlled treatment outcome research is needed. We conclude with a call to advocate for the humane treatment and management of women who are in or prone to restrictive housing.

Publication Title

Psychological Services