Master of Arts
Over the years, the goals of probation have remained the same: to increase community safety and reduce recidivism; however, as the world changes, the needs of offenders have changed. Evidence-based practices are used in probation to determine risk levels and create targeted case plans. The criminal justice system has seen an increase in female offenders, which has brought up valid questions of evaluation tools and supervision practices. The quest to provide the most effective services to all offenders brings innovation, research, and change. Gender-responsive supervision is the answer to how to best serve female offenders. Change is a natural evolution, but with change comes challenges. Gender-responsive supervision has its own unique set of challenges, such as assessing readiness for change, identifying quality leadership, creating buy-in from both internal and external stakeholders, understanding and identifying the unique pathways females have into the system, and molding those areas of need into case plans supported by cognitive skills and interventions as well as identifying potential ethical dilemmas. Gender-responsive supervision adheres to evidence-based practices with programming modeled around six guiding principles. Current, validated, evidence-based tools are utilized with the addition of supplemental assessments that target female-specific risk areas, also known as pathways, effectively creating a more comprehensive case plan.