Classification of Women Offenders: The Role of Gender-Responsive Needs

Patricia Van Voorhis, University of Cincinnati
Jennifer Pealer, University of Cincinnati
Georgia Spiropoulis, University of Cincinnati
Jennifer Sutherland, University of Cincinnati

This paper tests three models of inmate classification on an intake cohort of 156 women offenders admitted to Colorado DOC. The models tested consist of (a) a revised version of the NIC Model Prisons Classification System; (b) the revised NIC model with the addition of gender responsive needs; and (c) a needs assessment model embedded within traditional custody categories. Results find that needs are more predictive of prison misconducts for women offenders than traditional static custody variables. Moreover, gender-responsive needs pertaining to child abuse, relationships, and mental health further enhance the predictive validity of the custody classification instruments. More important another set of gender responsive needs are significantly related to offender risk of re-offending. These needs include relationships, self-efficacy, child abuse, mental health, and parenting skills.

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Updated 05/20/2006