Trauma exposure, mental health functioning, and program needs of women in jail

Bonnie L. Green*, Jeanne Miranda, Anahita Daroowalla, Juned Siddique

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

231 Scopus citations


A convenience sample of 100 female jail inmates was interviewed by two female clinical psychologists using measures of trauma exposure, psychopathology, sexual risk behavior, parenting skills, and perceived needs for service. Participants had high rates of life-time trauma exposure (98%), current mental disorders (36%), and drug/alcohol problems (74%). More than half of the women showed deficits in parenting skills. Participants described their primary problems as being in the areas of substance abuse and family issues, and they endorsed a variety of potential services they would like to be able to access. Unless trauma and victimization experiences, mental health needs, and functional difficulties are taken into account in program development, incarcerated women are unlikely to benefit optimally from in-house and postrelease programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-151
Number of pages19
JournalCrime and Delinquency
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005


  • Incarcerated women
  • Interpersonal trauma
  • Jail detainees
  • Mental health
  • Parenting
  • Programming needs
  • Substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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