Doctor of Education
Statistical reports confirm that the female incarcerated population is not only increasing, but the frequency of mental disorders among this vulnerable population is accelerating. Women’s pathways to crime show that gender matters significantly in shaping criminality. The frequency of mental disorders among incarcerated females is much higher than that in the general female population; it is higher than that of incarcerated men. There is abundant literature about women in prison, however, little about the characteristics of females in county jails. The goals of this study were to understand both the demographics and characteristics of females in jail and responsive programming upon reentry to community, as well as to identify mental health resources necessary to meet the needs of PK-12 learners.
Among females, the most common pathways to crime are based on survival of abuse, violence, trauma, and substance abuse experienced during childhood. Such experiences can have damaging effects on learning, behavior, and health; learning how to cope with such experiences is an important part of healthy child development. This study examined childhood trauma experienced by individuals prior to age 18. It is a call for educators, families, and other adults to activate supportive relationships and resources. The study explored the impact of educational mental health support, or the lack thereof, for children and youth, well into the adult years.