A Randomized Controlled Trial of Community Health Specialists Within Gender-Responsive Probation Supervision

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Feminist Criminology on 2023 by Emily J. Salisbury, Linsey A. Belisle, Mariah Cowell Mercier , and Kort Prince

Abstract

A randomized controlled trial was conducted to assess the experiences of women probationers engaged in gender-responsive supervision with community health supports versus ‘gender-responsive supervision as usual.’ Treatment group participants engaged in a new supervision model in a large metropolitan county in a Western state which was created to improve their specific responsivity needs and public health supports. The Women’s Reentry Assessment, Programming, and Services (WRAPS) model included enhanced wraparound, gender-responsive, and trauma-informed supervision that incorporated Community Health Specialists (CHSs) working alongside probation officers. Although the WRAPS intervention did not reduce recidivism relative to the control group, there is evidence that gender-responsive probation supervision does reduce recidivism overall when compared to baseline. Findings from interview data indicate strong support for gender-responsive probation in general and the WRAPS model in particular. Clients and staff viewed the CHS role as highly impactful in addressing women’s specific responsivity needs and supporting women’s success. Recommendations surrounding gender-responsive probation and integration of public health staff are discussed.

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