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The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Women's Report Part 2 - An Unsupported Population, 2018

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An Unsupported Population:

The Treatment of Women in
Texas’ Criminal Justice System
APRIL 2018

The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition advances solutions that transform the adult and youth justice systems to
support families and foster safe communities.
© 2018 Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of the material herein must credit
the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. “An Unsupported Population: The Treatment of Women in Texas’ Criminal
Justice System” is available from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition at www.TexasCJC.org.

An Unsupported Population:
The Treatment of Women in
Texas’ Criminal Justice System
Lindsey Linder, J.D.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition thanks the many women who
were brave enough to share their stories in this report. We thank
Senator José Rodríguez and his incredible Chief of Staff, Sushma
Jasti Smith, for sharing information obtained by their office from
the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). We also thank
TDCJ, including TDCJ Deputy Director Jeff Baldwin and his
team, for providing us with much of the data contained in this
report in a timely and intuitive manner. We additionally thank
Andrea Button, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Midwestern
State University, for her invaluable efforts to quantify and
summarize the nearly 438 survey responses that the Texas
Criminal Justice Coalition received from women in TDCJ.
Design by Catherine Cunningham

Letter from the Executive Director
The number of women in Texas prisons and jails is increasing exponentially, an alarming trend that has a
significant impact on Texas families and communities.
In March, The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition released a report, A Growing Population: The Surge of
Women into Texas’ Criminal Justice System, which examines the growing number of women entering
Texas’ criminal justice system and offers recommendations for safely reducing this population and
helping women thrive in the community.
This report, the second in our two-part series, takes a closer look at the issues facing women who are
currently incarcerated. The centerpiece of this report is a survey of women we conducted to learn
more about their experiences prior to and during incarceration. As the survey results reveal, it is vitally
important for agency staff, corrections system practitioners, and policy-makers to acknowledge and
address women’s unique needs, to implement policies and practices that treat these women with dignity,
to ensure they remain in their children’s lives, and to prepare them for a successful return to their families
and our communities.
As Jasmine Heiss wrote in Reimagining Women’s Incarceration, “In my lifetime, we have built an
international space station and vastly expanded the capacity of the internet to connect people around
the globe. It must also be possible to both stem the flow of women into our nation’s prisons and jails and
fundamentally change the experience of incarceration to one rooted in dignity. To believe anything else is
simply a failure of imagination.”
Please join us in fighting for a safe, stable, healthy path for Texas women.

Leah Pinney, Executive Director

i | An Unsupported Population | April 2018		

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

Table of Contents
Introduction	1
Survey of Incarcerated Women	

1

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Reports	

2

A Snapshot of Women Incarcerated in Texas’ Justice System	
Growth in Female Incarceration	

3

3

Female Criminality and Experiences within Confinement	 4
Issues Facing Justice System-Involved Women	

6

Drivers to Incarceration and Barriers to Reentry	
Low Education Levels	

6

6

Lack of Access to Safe, Available Housing	

6

Poverty	6
Trauma and Victimization	

7

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Issues	
Poor Conditions of Confinement	

8

10

Challenges in Accessing Adequate Health Care

10

Lack of Access to Quality Feminine Hygiene Products	 10
Inadequate Access to Nutritious Food or to Water	
Being Shackled While Pregnant

12

12

Motherhood: Inadequate Health Care and Limits on Parental Bonding	

13

Barriers to Communicating with Loved Ones	 14
Limited Programming Availability	

17

Abuse in Prison	 21
Recommendations	23
Address Women’s Unique Needs	

23

Improve Conditions of Confinement
Remove Barriers to Family Unity	

25
28

Better Prepare Women for Reentry	 29
Conclusion	31

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An Unsupported Population | April 2018 | ii

Introduction
Survey of Incarcerated Women

General Demographics
of 438 Survey
Respondents
Nearly all women (95%) who
completed the survey responded from
a prison facility, while 3% were in a
Substance Abuse Felony Punishment
facility and 2% were in a state jail
facility.
The racial breakdown of respondents
is as follows: 49% white, nonHispanic; 22% Black; 20% Hispanic;
3% Native American; and 6% other.
The majority of women were between
35 and 50 years old. 13% were
younger than 35 years old, and 30%
were older than 50 years old.

In 2014, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition sent surveys to 1,600
women incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
(TDCJ).1 Over 430 women completed the survey, which included
questions about prior victimization, substance abuse, mental health
issues, motherhood, and services and safety within TDCJ.
While we provided preliminary findings to legislators and the public, we
are now excited to offer more insight from the brave system-involved
women who shared their experiences with us.
We partnered with Dr. Andrea Button of Midwestern State University
to analyze the survey responses and identify themes among those
responses. The most common pre-incarceration themes show that life
for many of these women included poverty (in childhood and while as
an adult), substance abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault — all
drivers into incarceration. Histories of trauma and attempts to selfmedicate due to trauma were common themes.
Another prominent theme was limited family communication options
within TDCJ. Many respondents also reported having a sense of dread
about reentering the community with a criminal record and without
employment. Concerns about recidivism were common, as was a sense
of learned helplessness.
As this likely constitutes the largest-ever survey of women
incarcerated in Texas, these results are illuminating and they deserve
the attention of agency staff, corrections system practitioners, and
policy-makers.

It should be acknowledged that there are shortcomings in our
survey methodology, particularly with regards to sharing the voices
of transgender women. Surveys were sent only to women’s prison facilities, failing to account for
transgender women who may be incarcerated in men’s prison facilities or transgender men who may
be incarcerated in women’s prison facilities. The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition is hoping to release
a separate report, including survey data, that will focus on the challenges LGBTQ people face in Texas’
criminal justice system, including the experiences of transgender women.

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Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Reports
To ensure that we most effectively shared our women’s survey results, the Texas Criminal Justice
Coalition prepared a two-part report series, throughout which we also provide information obtained
from TDCJ, from formerly incarcerated women, and from people serving incarcerated or formerly
incarcerated women. To highlight women’s specific needs and circumstances, we offer data related to men
for comparison purposes.
We released our first report in March 2018, A Growing Population: The Surge of Women into Texas’
Criminal Justice System. In that report, we explored the concerning increase in the number of justice
system-involved women in Texas, and we recommended programs and policies that can reverse this
trend and effectively redirect women away from the criminal justice system.
In this second report in the series, An Unsupported Population: The Treatment of Women in Texas’
Criminal Justice System, we explore the unique issues facing system-impacted women, including the
challenges they face within TDCJ facilities, and we recommend programs and policies that treat women
with dignity and increase the likelihood that they can successfully rejoin their families and communities.

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An Unsupported Population | April 2018 | 2

A Snapshot of Women Incarcerated in Texas’ Justice
System
Data Shows Significant Growth in Female Incarceration
Texas has one of the top 10 highest female incarceration rates in the country,2 and the number of
incarcerated women has grown significantly over time. In fact, female incarceration in the Texas
Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ, the state’ corrections system) has increased 908% from 1980–
2016, compared to an increase in the male population of 396%.3
Texas Female Prison Population Growth, 1980-2016

15,000

12,000

9,000

6,000

3,000

1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016

0
Texas now incarcerates more women by sheer number than any other state.4 From 2009–2016 Texas
reduced its men’s prison population by 8,577 while backfilling its prisons with 554 women.5 As of
2016, women incarcerated in TDCJ numbered 12,508, representing 8.5% of the incarcerated population,
up from 7.7% in 2009.6
The number of women incarcerated in TDCJ is only slightly less than the total number of women in both

3 | An Supported Population | April 2018		

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

state and federal prisons across the country in 1980.7 And 81% of these incarcerated women are mothers.8
The rise in female incarceration is not exclusive to prisons. The number of women in Texas jails awaiting
trial — totaling around 6,300 — has grown 48% since 2011, even as the number of female arrests in Texas
has decreased 20% over that time period.9 Sadly, there is a significant number of pregnant women in
Texas jails, with an average 367 pregnant females booked into Texas county jails each month in 2017.10

Female Criminality and Experiences Within Confinement
The differences between incarcerated women and men point to the need for gender-based programs and
services to address women’s underlying causes of criminality and prepare them for a successful reentry to
the community.
Women in TDCJ for nonviolent offenses far outpace men, with 64% of women compared to 42% of
men incarcerated for a nonviolent offense. The majority of those offenses are for drug possession or
delivery. The percentage of women incarcerated for a property offense (22%) also exceeds the percentage
of men (14%).11
The Majority of Women in TDCJ are Incarcerated for Nonviolent Offenses

Nonviolent
64%

Violent
36%

Women in TDCJ additionally outpace their male counterparts when it comes to substance use
disorders, with 70% of women identified as suffering from a substance use disorder vs. 58% of men.12
Women in TDCJ are far more likely than men to be parents, with a staggering 81% of women in TDCJ
having children vs. 68% of men.13
Unfortunately, TDCJ does not track information relating to how many
women have histories of trauma, such as sexual abuse and domestic
violence. However, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition surveyed
hundreds of women incarcerated in TDCJ in 2014; nearly 60% of
respondents had been sexually assaulted and 82% had been victims of
domestic violence.

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition				

81%
of women in Texas’ state
corrections system are
mothers.

An Unsupported Population | April 2018 | 4

Along with, and perhaps as a result of, these significant trauma histories, justice system-involved
women also reported high rates of mental health problems.14 And prior to entering TDCJ, they had
high rates of poverty, low education levels, and low employment rates — all drivers into the criminal
justice system, and all pointing to the lack of help for women in the community.
While inside TDCJ, women reported a lack of access to health care, basic hygiene items, and enough
food. A quarter reported feeling “not very” or “not at all” safe. Nearly half reported that they never see
their children, and one-third reported not feeling close to family or friends. Only small percentages
of women reported that TDCJ did “very well” helping them address mental health, substance abuse,
housing, or family reunification needs.

A Better Path for Women
It is critical to address the drivers of women into incarceration — especially substance abuse, mental
health issues, past victimization, and poverty. Doing so will stop cycle of reoffending and re-incarceration
that comes at great expense to taxpayers, families, and communities.
Similarly, it is vitally important to treat incarcerated women with dignity and to prepare them for a safe,
successful reentry.
The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition urges local and state officials to adopt the recommendations below,
which will give women the tools to address their underlying causes of criminality and increase the
likelihood that they can successfully transition back to their families and communities.
1.	 Invest in programs and tools that address women’s unique needs, including gender-specific,
recidivism-reducing programming that improves the reentry transition, and gender-specific
risk and needs assessments to ensure particular issues are addressed.
2.	 Improve conditions of confinement for women to ensure they are treated with dignity,
including by providing better treatment for pregnant women and new mothers, improving
access to quality health care and hygiene products, and reducing violence against incarcerated
women.
3.	 Remove barriers to family unity, including by eliminating costly charges for phone calls from
prison, and by creating more welcoming, family-friendly visitation areas.
4.	 Better prepare women for release from incarceration, including by providing pre-release
programming, linkage to child welfare agencies, and improved aftercare and parole
assistance.
For more information about system-involved women in Texas, please see TCJC’s webpage dedicated to
women’s justice at www.TexasCJC.org/womens-justice.

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Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

Issues Facing Justice-Involved Women
This section includes various findings from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition’s survey of incarcerated
women.15

Drivers to Incarceration & Barriers to Reentry
Various factors can increase the likelihood of a person’s criminal justice system involvement and, if not
addressed while the person is incarcerated, can pose obstacles to a successful reentry to the community.
This simply perpetuates the cycle of reoffending and re-incarceration, at great expense to taxpayers,
families, and communities.

Low Education Levels
In our survey of incarcerated women, 65% had not graduated from high school or obtained a GED, with
35% completing less than 12th grade before entering TDCJ, and 11% not completing higher than 8th
grade.
Sadly, this survey result is not surprising. Studies show that low education levels are linked to higher rates
of arrest and incarceration.16

Lack of Access to Safe, Available Housing
Some surveyed women reported housing problems prior to entering TDCJ, with 40% not renting or
owning an apartment or house. 5% of women reported being homeless and living on the street.
It is critical to help women access stable housing, which can prevent offending and a consequent
criminal record that will more strictly limit their housing options. Most formerly incarcerated
people are forced to rely on their families for housing and support immediately upon release from
confinement.17 Unfortunately, many women do not have that support system to depend on, making it
nearly impossible to find housing.18
Even assuming that a woman does have the financial means to rent, doing so is difficult because the Fair
Housing Act does not consider people with criminal records to be a protected class, and landlords can
be legally justified in turning down tenants because of the tenant’s criminal history.19
Women without the financial resources to rent may still face barriers to public housing, as many public
housing projects have policies against renting to people with criminal histories.20 As a result, many
formerly incarcerated women end up in homelessness.21
Unfortunately, when our surveyed women were asked to rate how well they thought TDCJ helped them
address their housing needs, 62% responded “not well at all,” and only 8% responded “very well.”

Poverty
Poverty is a particularly significant factor for justice system-involved women. Per our survey, 47% of
women were unemployed immediately before entering TDCJ, while 8% had non-legal employment.
Shockingly, 52% of women reported that their total household income, before taxes, was less than
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An Unsupported Population | April 2018 | 6

$10,000 per year. This is well below the 2017 federal poverty level for even a single-member household.22
The vast majority (80%) of women reported that their pre-tax income was less than $30,000 per year.
For women who enter prison in an already precarious financial condition, justice system involvement can
push them and their families even further into financial crisis, as they are prevented from contributing
(even meager amounts) to their families, and their likelihood of employment on reentry can be slim with
a criminal record. The earning potential of this population is also stifled by low education levels.
Black and Hispanic women face the greatest wealth disadvantage. According to a national study,
around half of all single Black and Hispanic women have a zero or negative net worth, and the average
household median wealth for all single Black women was $100, compared to $41,500 for single white
women.23

Trauma and Victimization
Studies show that justice system-involved women are more likely to report being physically or sexually
abused than their male counterparts.24 In addition to abuse histories during childhood being more
prevalent among women,25 the risk of abuse for women continues throughout adolescence and adulthood
(whereas the abuse risk for males drops after childhood).26 Not only do these women have higher rates
of victimization than incarcerated males, but they also have more extensive victimization histories.27
Additionally, research has shown that women who are sexually abused as children are more likely to be
victims of domestic violence as adults.28

“It starts with helping them find
confidence and self-value and
hope.”
– Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds
on the treatment of women in prison

Our survey results bear this out. A staggering number of women
responding to our survey reported having been sexually and physically
abused or assaulted prior to their incarceration.
In fact, 58% of women reported being sexually abused or assaulted as a
child, with 68% of these women first abused when they were 10 years old
or younger, and 31% abused for the first time when they were 5 years old
or younger.

Were you ever sexually abused or assaulted as a child?

No
42%

7 | An Supported Population | April 2018		

Yes
58%

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

47% of women reported being sexually abused or assaulted as an adult prior to entering TDCJ. Of
those women, 50% were abused or assaulted by their spouse or romantic partner, followed by 48% by a
stranger.
49% of women reported being physically abused as a child. 52% were abused by their mother or father.
60% were less than 10 years old the first time they were physically abused.
62% of women reported being physically abused as an adult prior to entering TDCJ. 82% reported having
experienced domestic violence or dating abuse (either physical, emotional, or sexual harm by a husband,
boyfriend, girlfriend, or romantic partner).
Have you ever experienced domestic violence or dating abuse?

No
18%

Yes
82%

Additionally, high rates of poverty were common among the surveyed population, and 1 in 4 women
reported that they had been forced to exchange sex for basic necessities at some point before their
incarceration.
When asked if they believed the crime they were charged with or convicted of was related to any abuse
or violence they had experienced, 48% of women responded that they did believe their crime or
conviction was related to the abuse they had experienced.
So high is the rate of prior victimization among incarcerated women that U.S. Senator Cory Booker has
called it the “survivor of sexual trauma to prison pipeline.”29

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Issues
Considering the extensive histories of trauma among system-impacted women, it should come as no
surprise that the majority of incarcerated women report high rates of mental health disorders and
substance abuse.
Studies have shown that about 50% of justice system-involved women meet the criteria for lifetime
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).30 And while mental health problems are common among all
incarcerated populations, women are disproportionately affected.31

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition				

An Unsupported Population | April 2018 | 8

In TDCJ, only 27% of women are on a mental health caseload,32 although 55% of our surveyed women
reported having been diagnosed with a mental illness. The most common diagnoses for these women
are depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, and PTSD.33
What were you diagnosed with? (Check all that apply)

80%
70%

69.4%

60%
50%

47.7%

40%

37%
31.9%

15.3%

14.5%

Schizophrenia

Borderline
personality
disorder

Posttraumatic
stress disorder

Anxiety
disorder

Bipolar
disorder

0%

Depression

10%

12.3%

8.5%

Antisocial
disorder

20%

Other

30%

Unfortunately, when asked to rate how well they thought TDCJ helped them address their mental health
needs, 47% of surveyed women responded “not well at all,” and only 13% responded “very well.”
Women in Texas prisons also report higher rates of substance use disorder than their male counterparts,
with 70% of women having been identified as suffering from a substance use disorder, compared
to 58% of men.34 Yet 53% of surveyed women reported that they had never received substance use
treatment before entering TDCJ.
Furthermore, only 21% of women reported receiving substance abuse treatment inside TDCJ (not
including attending Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous groups). And, as with mental
health needs, when women were asked to rate how well they thought TDCJ helped them address their
substance abuse needs, 55% responded “not well at all,” and only 12% responded “very well.”

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Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

Poor Conditions of Confinement
Poor conditions of confinement, including inadequate access to in-prison programming and services,
must be addressed and improved to increase the likelihood of a successful reentry to the community.

Challenges in Accessing Adequate Health Care
The majority of women in the justice system have physical and/or
psychological health needs — yet accessing care can be challenging.
34% of surveyed women reported that they requested a medical
exam or service from TDCJ that was denied. Women reported
various reasons given by TDCJ for denying their request.
Many women also reported that the required $100 medical co-pay
deterred them from seeking needed care.
When asked how often they were allowed to see a psychiatrist or
doctor in TDCJ, only 39% of women reported that they could see
a psychiatrist or doctor at least once a month, compared to 61%
reporting that they were allowed to see a psychiatrist or doctor 3–4
times per year or less.

“What am I supposed to do? I
just gave birth and am bleeding
constantly, and you are saying
there is nothing you can do for
me?”
– Angelica, in and out of prison for 17 years

Lack of Access to Quality Feminine Hygiene Products
In TDCJ, female inmates are issued 30 sanitary
pads and 6 tampons per month. Depending on the
week, women receive one or two rolls of toilet paper.
According to Hannah Overton, founder of Syndeo
Ministries, “the women always run out of all of these
supplies, which then leads to hygiene problems and
health risks, which are frankly indescribable.”35
Our survey respondents agreed. When asked if
they have access to basic hygiene items, 54% of
women reported they do not always have access to
them when needed. Many women specified that an
insufficient number of tampons and pads are provided
Sample Sanitary Pad and Tampon Obtained from TDCJ
to female inmates, and that facilities lack toilet tissue.
Many women noted that, while these items may be
available for purchase through commissary, they cannot afford to purchase them, and sharing them with
others runs the risk of a disciplinary infraction for “trafficking and trading.”
The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition conducted our own evaluation of hygiene products provided to
women at TDCJ. We obtained from TDCJ a standard-issue sanitary pad and a standard-issue tampon;
Policy Attorney Lindsey Linder conducted a “blue ink” test on both products, comparing them to their

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition				

An Unsupported Population | April 2018 | 10

A

most popular counterparts:
I needed something to compare the TDCJ pad and
tampon to, so I looked at Amazon’s list of best-selling
pads36 and tampons.37 The best-selling pad was Always
Radiant for Heavy Flow. Because this product is
specifically designed for women with a heavy flow,
I did not think it would be fair to compare it to the
TDCJ sample. Instead, I chose the second-most popular
pad, which was the Always Ultra Thin Overnight pad.
I believe it offered a fair comparison to TDCJ’s sample
pad because those pads should be suitable for use while
sleeping.
The best-selling tampon was the Playtex Sport tampon.
Again, this was a specialty item for very active use, so I
did not think it fair to compare it to the TDCJ sample.
Instead, I chose the second-most popular tampon, the
Tampax Pearl.
The first thing I noticed when comparing the TDCJ
pad to the Always pad was that the TDCJ pad
did not have wings. Men may not understand the
importance of wings on a pad, but these wings serve
two purposes. First, they guarantee that the pad stays
securely attached to the underwear, and second, they
provide extra protection against leaks. I also noticed
that the TDCJ pad was particularly thick compared
to the Always pad. This helped explain some survey
comments claiming that TDCJ pads felt like a diaper.
Although the TDCJ pad was much thicker than the
Always pad, the Always pad was much longer. This is
likely because the Always pad is designed to catch leaks
even while a woman is lying flat, so the pad is longer to
cover a larger surface area.

B

Sample Sanitary Pad Obtained from TDCJ (A) Compared
to an Always Ultra Thin Overnight Sanitary Pad (B)

A
B
Sample Tampon Obtained from TDCJ (A) Compared to a
Tampax Pearl Tampon (B)

I poured one-third cup of water (with blue food
coloring) onto each pad to measure absorption. The
TDCJ pad absorbed most of the liquid, but about two
tablespoons of liquid leaked off the side. Comparatively,
the Always pad absorbed all of the liquid with no leaks.
Regarding the tampons, the first thing I noticed when
comparing them was that the TDCJ tampon was
cardboard. Men may not understand that cardboard
tampon applicators are notoriously painful to insert.
11 | An Supported Population | April 2018		

Sanitary Pads Obtained From TDCJ

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

On Amazon’s list of most popular tampons, there is not one with a
cardboard applicator until number 14 on the list. I also noticed that the
Tampax string was braided with cotton to help prevent leaks, but the
TDCJ tampon was not.
I submerged both the TDCJ tampon and the Tampax tampon into a bowl
of blue water. I tried to measure the water absorbed by each; however,
my units of measurement were not small enough to discern a difference.
Comparing them after taking them out of the water, they both seemed to
absorb around the same amount of liquid.
Seemingly, the predominate differences between the TDCJ feminine
products and the popular brands were absorption (particularly when
comparing the pads) and comfort. The popular brands were certainly
designed with more of a focus on women’s bodies.

Inadequate Access to Nutritious Food or to Water
Only 53% of surveyed women reported that they have access to adequate
food and water, but they claimed they do not believe the food is
nutritious.	
31% responded that they do not believe they get enough to eat and
often feel hungry.

“I had a fibroid on my uterus,
so I had a lot of bleeding. But,
the pads are so cheap and they
don’t absorb well. I would go
through three of them a night
and still bleed through my
clothes onto my sheets. It was
so embarrassing and shameful,
I would get up early and wash
myself, my clothes, and my
sheets, even though this was
against the rules. I would get
in trouble, but I couldn’t just
stay with my clothes and sheets
like that. It made me feel less
than a human being, let alone a
woman. Even though we are in
prison, we are still women.”
– Evelyn, incarcerated for 2½ years

Being Shackled While Pregnant
Shackling women who are pregnant, in labor, or postpartum is known
to be medically unsafe: “Restraining pregnant prisoners at any time
increases their potential for physical harm from an accidental trip
or fall. This also poses a risk of serious harm to the woman’s fetus,
including the potential for miscarriage. During labor, delivery and
postpartum recovery, shackling can interfere with appropriate medical
care and be detrimental to the health of the mother and her newborn
child.”38
Texas has made strides to prevent shackling. In 2009, Governor Rick
Perry signed into law HB 365339 and HB 3654,40 which went into effect
on September 1, 2009. HB 3654 required the Texas Commission on
Jail Standards to establish minimum standards relating to the health
and housing of pregnant women confined to a county jail and to report
monthly on the number of pregnant prisoners in county jails across
Texas. HB 3653 prohibited TDCJ, the Texas Youth Commission (now
the Texas Juvenile Justice Department), and municipal and county jails
from using restraints to control the movement of a pregnant woman
under certain circumstances.

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition				

“The unit I was housed on had
metal buildings, which meant
the summer temperatures inside
were often above 115 degrees.
Many of the women were on
heat sensitive medications that
reacted to these temperatures.
Reactions ranging from rashes to
the meds not working properly.
There have been over twenty
heat related deaths in the past
few years.”
–Hannah, exonerated after 7 years of
incarceration

An Unsupported Population | April 2018 | 12

“Being shackled by the ankles
during labor was so incredibly
difficult. I’ve had two children
since I was released from prison,
and their labors were so much
easier.”
–Angelica, in and out of prison for 17 years

So currently in Texas, shackling is prohibited during a woman’s labor, delivery,
or recovery from delivery,41 whereas it is permitted while she is otherwise
pregnant. And even if a woman is in labor, in delivery, or recovering,
shackling may be used if a determination is made that it is necessary to ensure
“safety and security” or to prevent escape.42

Motherhood: Inadequate Health Care and Limits on Parental
Sec. 501.066, Texas Government Code. RESTRAINT ON PREGNANT
INMATE OR DEFENDANT.
(a) The department may not use restraints to control the movement of
a pregnant woman in the custody of the department at any time during
which the woman is in labor or delivery or recovering from delivery,
unless the director or director’s designee determines that the use of
restraints is necessary to:
(1)	 ensure the safety and security of the woman or her infant,
department or medical personnel, or any member of the public; or
(2)	 prevent a substantial risk that the woman will attempt escape.
(b) If a determination to use restraints is made under Subsection (a),
the type of restraint used and the manner in which the restraint is used
must be the least restrictive available under the circumstances to ensure
safety and security or to prevent escape.

Bonding
Nationally, around 62% of women in prison report being parents of minor children,43 and 81% of women
in Texas prisons are mothers.44
The impact of incarceration on new mothers and pregnant women is significant, in regards to both poor
health care and the lack of opportunity for parental bonding.

95%

In Fiscal Year 2016, 196 women gave birth in TDCJ. As of December 18, 2017, TDCJ identified 57
inmates who were pregnant; of these women, 56% were Hispanic, 35%
were white, and 19% were Black. The average age of this population
was 27.8 years old, with the youngest pregnant inmate at 19 years old
and the oldest at 41 years old.

of expectant mothers in TDCJ
were being incarcerated for a
nonviolent offense.

The most common offense of record among pregnant inmates in TDCJ
was drug possession. 95% of expectant mothers in TDCJ were being
incarcerated for a nonviolent offense.45

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Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

According to national studies, pregnant
inmates are more likely to have complicated
and higher-risk pregnancies than women in
the general population, resulting in higher
numbers of stillbirths, miscarriages, and ectopic
pregnancies.46 As noted above, our surveyed
women reported problems accessing adequate
health care — especially dangerous for pregnant
women and new mothers.

Fiscal Year

Number of Inmates
Who Gave Birth

2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016

202
208
186
184
200
198
196

Separately, women have reported their
newborns being taken from them soon after
birth. According to TDCJ, mothers typically have visitation with their
newborn for “somewhat less than 2 weeks,” but this varies according to
disciplinary history, offense type, and custody level.47 This separation
of a woman and her child can be deeply traumatizing, especially
during the 6 weeks immediately following birth when the mother is
particularly vulnerable to postpartum depression.48

Barriers to Communicating with Loved Ones
As noted above, 81% of women in Texas prisons are mothers.49 The
majority of our survey respondents (52%) reported having 2–3
children, and more than 30% reported having more than 3 children.
If you have children, how many children do you have?

6+ Children
5%

“I got to hold her [my newborn]
for fifteen minutes, and then
they took her. I would wake up
hearing babies crying at 3 o’clock
every morning. It messed with
me so deep, psychologically. It
put me in a deep depression. I
know I committed a crime and
had to serve my time, but I did
the wrong, not my child.”
– Angelica, in and out of prison for 17 years

1 Child
18%

4–5 Children
25%

2–3 Children
52%

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition				

An Unsupported Population | April 2018 | 14

“Women are the backbone to
our families. Women are the
glue that hold families together.
When the mother is not there,
it has a snowball effect on
kids. The support is broken.
The dynamic of the family is
shattered. There is no more
bonding, no more nurturing. It
collapses the family.”
– Annette, incarcerated for 20 years

“Visitation was one of the
hardest parts of my mom’s
incarceration. I always had to
find someone to take me to
see her. Even then, I could only
see her on a screen. There was
no face-to-face visitation. I
remember looking at this fuzzy
screen and crying. My mom
was trying to console me, but
she couldn’t even wipe the
tears from my eyes. The visits
themselves were traumatizing.
– Destiny, child of an incarcerated mother

However, 49% of women reported that they never see their children while
incarcerated, and 27% reported that they see their children once per year
or less. Just 14% of women reported seeing their children 3–4 times per year,
and fewer than 10% reported seeing their children once per month or more.
Not surprisingly, when asked to rate how well they thought TDCJ helped
them address their family reunification needs, 71% of women responded “not
well at all,” and only 9% responded “very well.”
In part, cost is an unfortunate factor in a woman’s ability to communicate
with her loved ones. Texas ranks 47th in the nation in affordability of a
15-minute prison phone call.50 It costs an inmate or their loved ones nearly
$4 for every 15-minute call.51
But cost is not the only prohibitive factor when it comes to phone calls. In
order for an incarcerated person to be able to sign up to call someone who
uses a cell phone, the cell phone owner must agree that they are at least 18
years old, that they will not allow another adult who is not on the approved
calling list to speak to the incarcerated person, that they will not forward
calls, and that they will not make a 3-way call while the incarcerated person
is on the phone.52 If a loved one receives an inmate call and another person is
present that has not gone through this process, the phone cannot be passed
around.53 When going through the approval process, an operator must be able
to call the cell phone owner’s phone company, verify the person’s name and
address on the account, and wait a few days to verify approval.54
Anyone with a prepaid phone is ineligible to receive calls from a TDCJ
inmate because the name and address of the owner of the mobile account
cannot be verified.55 As of spring 2017, approximately 49 million people in
the U.S. used a prepaid phone.56 None of these people could accept phone
calls from an inmate in TDCJ without purchasing post-paid phone service,
or using another person’s phone that has successfully gone through the
verification process. Comparatively, federal inmates are allowed to call
virtually anyone they have a phone number for, and there is no such policy
requiring loved ones to register to receive calls.57
In addition to issues with phone communication, in-person visitation
presents problems. Some mothers are only able to see their children
through a glass partition. Mothers who are eligible for contact visitation
may still find it difficult to engage in meaningful play and bonding with their
children, as the visits are limited to sitting inside at a table with many other
inmates and visitors.58
Worse, many Texas counties have eliminated face-to-face visitation
altogether, instead using video visitation. This requires computer literacy,
which becomes a barrier for many desiring to use the service. Even those with

15 | An Supported Population | April 2018		

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

a firm grasp of computer technology report frustration dealing with the many glitches and interruptions
of service. Further, these technologies often make eye-to-eye communication impossible, exacerbating
the sense of confusion and isolation endured by families when a loved one is incarcerated.
In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed HB 549, mandating that county jails afford prisoners a minimum of
two 20-minute, in-person visits per week.59 Unfortunately, the bill passed with an amendment allowing
counties that already operated facilities with video-only visitation to be exempt from the new law.60
Video visitation can be a beneficial supplement to in-person visitation, especially for those who live far
from an incarcerated loved one, but it is crucial that family members be given the chance to enhance
their family bond in a more impactful way. In-person visitation is especially crucial for maintaining
relationships between parents and children. The consequences of losing a parent to incarceration are
severe and far reaching, including serious mental, physical, and emotional health impacts.61 These effects,
in turn, can increase the likelihood of future incarceration for the child. And, indeed, of our survey
respondents, 10% had a mother who had been incarcerated, while 21% had a father who had been
incarcerated.
Sadly, parental incarceration disproportionately impacts children of color. Black children are over 6 times
more likely to have experienced parental incarceration than white children. One out of every four Black
children born in 1990 had a parent in prison or jail by the time the child was 14.62
Likelihood of Parental Incarceration by Race

12%

11.4%

10%
8%
6%
4%

3.6%

3.5%
1.8%

2%
0
All

White

Black

Hispanic

Source: Original analysis for The Pew Charitable Trusts by Bruce Western and Becky Pettit, 2009.

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition				

An Unsupported Population | April 2018 | 16

Limited Programming Availability
Women in prison have access to far fewer educational and vocational programs than their male
counterparts.
Through TDCJ, incarcerated women in Texas have access to an Associate degree plan and certifications
in two occupations: office administration and culinary arts/hospitality management. In contrast, men
have access to an Associate, Associate of Applied Science, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degree plan, as well as
certifications in 21 occupations.
Academic and Vocational Programs Offered in TDCJ
Available to Women
Available to Men
Associate Degree

Office Administration
Culinary Arts/Hospitality Management

17 | An Supported Population | April 2018		

Associate Degree
Associate of Applied Science Degree
Bachelor’s Degree
Master’s Degree
Cabinet Making
Construction Carpentry I
Construction Carpentry II
Electrical Technology
Electronics
A/C and Refrigeration I
A/C and Refrigeration II
Auto Body
Automotive Technology I
Automotive Technology II
Truck Driving
Welding
Advanced Welding
Computer Technology
Advanced Computer Technology
Data Processing
Industrial Design
Advanced Industrial Design
Horticulture
Advanced Horticulture
Substance Abuse Counseling

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

Additionally, the Windham School District, which offers academic and vocational courses to men and
women incarcerated in TDCJ, provides women access to 21 technical education courses. Comparatively,
men have access to 48 courses.63
Technical Education Courses Offered by Windham School District
Available to Women
Available to Men
Landscape Design, Construction and Maintenance
Cabinetmaking CNC
Construction Carpentry
Construction Fundamentals
Electrical Trades
Electronic Systems Technician
HVAC Service Technician
Painting and Decorating
Cook (Apprenticeship)
Hospitality and Tourism
Restaurant Management
Specialized Skills in the Hospitality Industry
Business Computer Information System – Access &
Outlook
Business Computer Information Systems – Word &
Excel
Audio Video Entertainment Systems
Copper Network Cabling
Energy Management
Fiber Optic Network Cabling
Telecommunications Technology
Automotive Brakes
VCP-Com and Media Systems – Literacy, Math, Textile,
and Textbook Formatting

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition				

Landscape Design, Construction and Maintenance
Cabinetmaking CNC
Construction Carpentry
Construction Fundamentals
Electrical Trades
Electronic Systems Technician
HVAC Service Technician
Painting and Decorating
Cook (Apprenticeship)
Hospitality and Tourism
Restaurant Management
Specialized Skills in the Hospitality Industry
Business Computer Information System – Access &
Outlook
Business Computer Information Systems – Word &
Excel
Audio Video Entertainment Systems
Copper Network Cabling
Energy Management
Fiber Optic Network Cabling
Telecommunications Technology
Automotive Brakes
VCP-Com and Media Systems – Literacy, Math, Textile,
and Textbook Formatting
Horticulture Specialist
Assembler Technician (Apprenticeship)
Bricklaying & Masonry
CNC/CAD
Combination Welder (Apprenticeship)
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and
Refrigeration
Mill & Cabinetmaking
Piping Trades/Plumbing
Plumbing Trades

An Unsupported Population | April 2018 | 18

Technical Education Courses Offered by Windham School District
Available to Women
Available to Men
Sheet Metal
Welding
Printing and Imaging Technology
Culinary Arts
Hospitality Services
CNC Machining
Major Appliance Service Technology
Automotive AC/Heating
Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing
Automotive Electronics
Automotive Engine Performance
Automotive Fundamentals
Automotive Technician Specialist (Apprenticeship)
Diesel Mechanics
Plant Processing/Warehouse
Small Engine Repair
Small Engine Repair – Motorcycle/ATV
Truck Driving

TDCJ also offers more rehabilitation programs to men than women while incarcerated.
Rehabilitation Programs Offered in TDCJ
Available to Women
Available to Men
Sex Offender Rehabilitation Programs
Corrective Intervention Pre-Release Program
Youthful Offender Program
Prison Entrepreneurship Program (administered by
volunteers)
Faith-based Dormitories
Female Cognitive Pre-Release Program
Baby and Mother Bonding Initiative
Our Roadway to Freedom Program

19 | An Supported Population | April 2018		

Sex Offender Rehabilitation Programs
Corrective Intervention Pre-Release Program
Youthful Offender Program
Prison Entrepreneurship Program (administered by
volunteers)
Faith-based Dormitories
Pre-Release Therapeutic Community
Administrative Segregation Diversion Program
Administrative Segregation Transition Program
Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative
Gang Renouncement and Disassociation Process
InnerChange Faith-based Freedom Initiative
(administered by volunteers)
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
(administered by volunteers)

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

However, the majority of substance abuse programs offered by TDCJ are available to both men and
women.
Substance Abuse Programs Offered in TDCJ
Available to Women
Available to Men
Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility
In-Prison Therapeutic Community
State Jail Substance Abuse Program
In-Prison Driving While Intoxicated Recovery
Program

Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility
In-Prison Therapeutic Community
State Jail Substance Abuse Program
In-Prison Driving While Intoxicated Recovery
Program
Pre-Release Substance Abuse Program

*Substance abuse volunteer initiatives are also available to both women and men.

Windham School District (WSD):
Thinking Intentionally About How to Best Serve Incarcerated Women

WSD provides educational and vocational services to men and women
incarcerated in TDCJ. In 2017, WSD provided programming to 8,928 females
and 50,302 males. WSD Superintendent Dr. Clint Carpenter attributes the
high number of female participants to WSD’s efforts to build services around
women’s needs, as well as to the price: students do not have to pay for WSD
courses and certifications. Dr. Carpenter is hoping to continue to expand the
number of programs offered to women.
“Windham recognizes the unique needs of this population. We are expanding high tech training to target
those jobs which are higher wages for females, and we have reassigned personnel to seek out and connect
with employers looking to fill high skilled jobs. We have formal partnerships with over 100 companies ready
to hire high skilled, certified craftspeople and most, if not all, are hoping to bring more female craftspeople
on board.” – Dr. Clint Carpenter, Windham School District Superintendent

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition				

An Unsupported Population | April 2018 | 20

“I never came up on any lists
for any of the trade classes in
prison. I’m trying to educate
myself and learn something
different, but all they want to
do is lock you up and put you
to work. If you won’t give me
a chance, I’m going to go back
to what I know which was
criminal activity. They set me up
for failure and I had to fight to
overcome those obstacles.”
– Angelica, in and out of prison for 17 years

“There was no preparation for
reentry. They gave me a list of
resources when I was walking
out the door, and many of the
organizations didn’t even exist
anymore. The need is so much
greater than the resources that
are available.”
– Evelyn, incarcerated for 2½ years

Despite more limited program options for women in TDCJ and through
the Windham School District, our survey respondents did report
participation in them, with 71% participating in religious or spiritual
programs. But less than half reported participation in programs geared
toward future employment, with only 39% participating in education
programs, 29% participating in vocational or job training programs, and
29% participating in rehabilitation programs to address addiction and/or
mental health problems.
And, in fact, when women were asked to rate how well they thought TDCJ
helped them address their employment training needs, 52% responded
“not well at all,” and only 19% responded “very well.”
Unfortunately, 14% of women reported not participating in any
programs. Of those who reported not participating in any programs, only
6% did not want to participate.

Abuse in Prison
In addition to the prevalence of prior victimization among justice
system-involved women, many women are also victimized during their
incarceration. According to a Justice Department study, female prisoners
are more likely than males to report being the victim of sexual abuse.64
Nationally, women are approximately 7% of the total prison population but
22% of all victims of inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization and 33% of all
victims of staff-on-inmate sexual victimization.65
In our survey of women, 20% reported that they had been physically
abused since entering TDCJ. Of those women, 92% reported that they
had been physically abused by another inmate and 15% reported that they
had been abused by a correctional officer.
4% of women reported being sexually abused or assaulted since entering
TDCJ. Of those women, 78% reported being sexually abused or assaulted
by another inmate, compared to 17% reporting being sexually abused or
assaulted by a correctional officer. 58% of these women reported that their
abuse or assault was never reported to TDCJ’s Safe Prisons program or a
unit official.
When asked about feeling safe on a day-to-day basis in TDCJ, only 17%
of women reported feeling very safe. Nearly 60% reported feeling only
somewhat safe, 15% reported feeling not very safe, and 9% reported not
feeling safe at all.

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Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

“During the time I was incarcerated, it was like society had changed 10
years for every year I was away. I didn’t know how to use a cell phone or a
gas pump. They just throw you out with no idea how to navigate the world.
Society is constantly changing while you’re incarcerated, and there are little
to no programs to prepare you for release into that.”
–Annette, incarcerated for 20 years

How safe do you feel on a day-to-day basis in TDCJ?

Not safe at all
9%
Not very safe
15%

Very safe
17%

Somewhat safe
59%

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition				

An Unsupported Population | April 2018 | 22

Recommendations
It is critical to address the drivers of women into incarceration — especially substance abuse, mental
health issues, past victimization, and poverty. Doing so will stop cycle of reoffending and re-incarceration
that comes at great expense to taxpayers, families, and communities. Similarly, it is vitally important to
treat incarcerated women with dignity and to prepare them for a safe, successful reentry.

1.	 Invest in Programs and Tools that Help Address Women’s Unique Needs
Ensure Access to Gender-Specific, Recidivism-Reducing Programming that Improves the
Reentry Transition

“Every story [in prison] seems
the same, just a different
person. Drug convictions and
prostitution, women with
extensive trauma histories,
women who don’t value
themselves or their bodies
because of things that happened
to them and messed with their
self-esteem.”
– Angelica, in and out of prison for 17 years

TDCJ and county jail administrators should implement treatment and
trauma-informed programming in all-female settings, where women may
feel more nurtured, supported, and comfortable when speaking about issues
like domestic violence, sexual abuse and incest, shame, and self-esteem.66
Where possible, the treatment curriculum should address many of the
common barriers to success for women leaving confinement: how to shoulder
parenting responsibilities, avoid abusive relationships, handle money, and
address health issues.
It is imperative that program staff regularly evaluate the requirements
for program participation and amend those requirements to ensure the
maximum level of participation.
Furthermore, where possible, treatment programs should be part of a
comprehensive continuum of care that continues after each woman’s release
from custody. Given the many needs of system-involved women, TDCJ
and county jails must be given all necessary resources to effectively provide
gender-specific programming and services.

Programming aimed at reducing recidivism among women is an especially cost-effective approach to
crime reduction. Women tend to have a more difficult time with reentry and higher recidivism rates than
men.66 In fact, according to a study by the Urban Institute of previously incarcerated women returning to
Houston:
The unique obstacles that women face during their post-prison reintegration, driven largely by their
differences in pre-prison substance use and employment histories, continue to play a role in terms of
subsequent criminal behavior. At one year out, women are more likely than men to engage in drug
use, to have problems stemming from drug use, and to have partners who drink or use drugs daily.
Perhaps not surprisingly, women are almost twice as likely as men to be back behind bars in a year’s
time, typically due to a drug related offense or a property offense driven by addiction problems.68
To the extent the State and counties can develop effective, recidivism-reduction treatment programs
aimed at women, it will likely get a great return on its investment.

23 | An Supported Population | April 2018		

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

Utilize Gender-Specific Risk and Needs Assessments
to Ensure Particular Issues are Addressed
Traditional risk and needs assessments that are used to
determine a person’s programming needs have been faulted
for having little pertinence for women. The lack of genderspecific factors makes it difficult for women to be connected
with programs that are relevant to their lives: “Correctional
policy claims a gender-neutral stance, ignoring the
psychological and social literature differentiating men and
women’s criminological pathways. The misinformed nature
of the criminal justice system has only exacerbated the
problem of mass incarceration of women.”69
While risk assessments have some predictive validity for
women, the evaluation of gender-sensitive needs will
likely produce a higher rate of predictive validity. The
following factors have been identified through theoretical
frameworks and evidence-based research as playing
crucial roles in a woman’s criminality and recovery.70

Program Spotlight!
Truth Be Told
Truth Be Told fulfills a documented service gap in the
correctional system by offering gender-responsive
programs and safe community to women during and
after incarceration. Through courses that offer healing
through storytelling, expressive arts, life skills and
self-care tools, Truth Be Told speaks directly to the
unique risk factors that lead women into the system:
elevated rates of trauma, addiction and histories
of childhood abuse. It envisions a society where all
justice-involved women are restored to integrity,
thereby breaking the cycle of incarceration.
For more information, visit
www.truth-be-told.org

a. Trauma and Abuse: Some studies have found that
as many as 98% of justice system-involved women have
trauma histories. The high discrepancy variance between
men and women makes trauma and abuse a gender-specific
issue, and the prevalence at which women experience abuse
should be considered during the development of tools used
for their rehabilitation.
b. Mental Illness: While the prevalence for mental illness
is high among both genders, women are disproportionately
affected,71 indicating a substantial need for mental health
treatment geared toward women.
c. Substance Use: Women in TDCJ report higher rates of
substance use disorder than their male counterparts, with
70% of women having been identified as suffering from a
substance use disorder, compared to 58% of men.72 Given
that “the connection between substance abuse and female
criminality is incredibly strong, as is its connection to
recidivism,”73 it is critical for this issue to be addressed.
d. Self-Esteem: Low self-esteem tends to be a product
of abuse, mental health issues, socio-economic status,
dysfunctional relationships, and other factors.74 Genderresponsive assessments should measure women’s self-esteem

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition				

“TDCJ needs to do more of an individual
assessment of women. We go through a
processing in the beginning, but it needs to
be more female based. If they did more of a
detailed assessment involving female issues,
maybe they could improve the quality of
treatment of women in the system.”
–Evelyn, incarcerated for 2½ years

An Unsupported Population | April 2018 | 24

Program Spotlight!
Freehand Arts Project
Freehand Arts Project is a nonprofit organization
dedicated to bringing creative arts classes to people
incarcerated in Texas jails and prisons. The program
strives to address the deep wounds found in the
justice system by providing a safe avenue for selfreflection, the opportunity to develop emotional
awareness, and a supportive community. Classes give
inmates the experience of control and introspection
through art, allowing them to engage in the world
more confidently and authentically.
Currently, Freehand Arts Project serves women at
Travis County Correctional Complex, where they
provide creative writing, poetry, and visual arts
programming.
For more information, visit
www.freehandartsproject.org

levels so they can be properly matched with treatment that
empowers women to make good decisions and facilitates a
greater sense of control in their lives.75
e. Dysfunctional Relationships: A study by the American
Probation and Parole Association on women’s pathways to
crime found a link between dysfunctional abusive intimate
relationships and an erosion of the woman’s self-esteem.76
Another study found that living with a criminal partner is
a statically strong predictor of recidivism.77 Women must
learn more about the extent to which they are influenced
by the relationships in their lives and learn how to extricate
themselves from dysfunctional relationships.
f. Parental Responsibilities: A staggering 81% of women
in TDCJ have children, compared to 68% of men,78 and
women who were primary caretakers of their children prior
to incarceration risk having their parental rights terminated.79
Because of the sheer number of incarcerated women who have
children, they must learn how to maintain healthy, positive
relationships.

2.	 Improve Conditions of Confinement for Women
to Ensure They are Treated with Dignity
Better Assess the Needs of Pregnant Women, and Ban
Shackling While Pregnant
In 2017, the Texas Legislature passed HB 239, requiring TDCJ
to report on the implementation of health care services for
pregnant inmates and provide a summary on nutritional
standards, housing conditions, physical restraints, and
miscarriages experienced by pregnant inmates.80 While this is
a step in the right direction, Texas must use the information
derived from this legislation to put into place policies
that will effectively address the unique challenges facing
pregnant inmates across the state.
Separately, Texas must take additional steps to ban shackling of
women while pregnant in prison or jail.

25 | An Supported Population | April 2018		

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

Program Spotlight!
Improve the Time that Mothers Can Spend with
Newborn Children
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and
the American Public Health Association strongly recommend
allowing women to remain with their infant children for
longer hospital stays, in in-custody nursery programs, or
through diversion programs.81
TDCJ should expand the BAMBI program, which allows a
mother and her infant to bond in a residential facility for up
to 12 months, with longer stays considered on a case-by-case
basis.
Providing more mothers the opportunity to bond with
their newborns in a safe and secure environment will
promote healthy growth and development, socialization, and
psychological development during the infant’s formative years

Increase Access to Quality Health Care
TDCJ must ensure that women have regular access to a
psychiatrist. Access to mental health care is an imperative
component in rehabilitation.
Additionally, TDCJ must ensure that the $100 co-pay for
health care does not deter women from seeking necessary
services. An incarcerated woman should not have to choose
between the health care she needs to be able to focus on her
rehabilitation and basic necessities like hygiene products and
stamps to communicate with her loved ones.

Babies and Mothers Bonding
Initative (BAMBI)
BAMBI is a program contracted through the University
of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), which subcontracts
with Santa Maria Hostel, Inc., and allows a mother
and her infant to bond in a residential facility for up to
12 months (longer stays considered on a case-by-case
basis).
The mission of BAMBI is to provide an opportunity
for mother and child bonding and attachment, which
is important to healthy growth and development,
socialization, and psychological development during
the infant’s formative years, while in a safe and secure
environment.
The mother receives child development education, life
skills, infant first aid and CPR, nutrition, peer recovery,
cognitive skills, anger management, and family
reunification sessions.
For more information, visit
www.santamariahostel.org/the-road-to-recovery/
baby-and-mother-bonding-initiative

“I had a hard pregnancy. I had gestational diabetes, and the doctors just want you in and out. When you go
to medical appointments, you are shackled at your hands and your feet. You can only go to the doctor once a
month. If something comes up, you have to get on a waitlist. They don’t care. You’re a prisoner, a number. Not
a human, not a pregnant woman. The guards think you’re using your pregnancy as an excuse, and there is no
compassion. When I went into labor, they didn’t believe me. You don’t get milk, and my teeth started decaying.
Sleeping is so much harder on those thin mats. Pregnancy is hard on your body, and they don’t take care of those
needs. You only have what they give you.”
– Angelica, in and out of prison for 17 years

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition				

An Unsupported Population | April 2018 | 26

Program Spotlight!
Syndeo Ministries
Syndeo Ministries was founded by Hannah Overton
after she was exonerated in 2015. Hannah spent
seven years in a Texas prison for a crime she didn’t
commit, until she was declared actually innocent and
reunited with her five young children.
Syndeo Ministries focuses on helping women who are
incarcerated and women transitioning out of prison.
During the summer, Syndeo Ministries provides
cooling towels to over 2,600 women. During the
holidays, they provide full-size hygiene items and
other gifts to thousands of women across four Texas
prisons.
Syndeo Ministries is in the process of building
a bunkhouse that will be home to 25 women
transitioning out of Texas prisons.
For more information, visit
www.syndeoministries.com

Lastly, TDCJ must evaluate and expand its current
prepartum and postpartum health care services. Pregnant
women and their unborn children have many health care
needs that are time-sensitive and require more attention than
periodic check-ups. Women recovering from labor also have
many individualized health care needs. Exceptional health
care services should be available to women during their
pregnancies and during the months immediately following
delivery.

Increase Access to Quality Hygiene Products
Another critical component in treating incarcerated women
with dignity means providing them with feminine hygiene
products in a quantity and quality that is sufficient to meet
their needs.
While TCJC’s sanitary products do pose issues with comfort,
wear-ability, and absorption, they are also inadequate in
number for many women in TDCJ. A woman uses on average
20 tampons per month,82 while TDCJ provides 6. Texas
should provide all female inmates with an amount of toilet
paper, tampons, and sanitary pads sufficient to provide for
their health care and hygiene needs.
Without enough of these products, women are forced to
barter and trade with other women who may have extras
(which is technically against TDCJ rules) or suffer leaks
through their white clothes and sheets. For women who are
already struggling with their self-esteem, allowing women to
soil themselves with blood is an unacceptable consequence of
TDCJ’s failure to prioritize their health care needs.

Provide Nutritious Food and Allow More Access to
Water
Providing women in TDCJ with enough nutritious food and
with water is absolutely imperative; water is most critical
during summer months. Otherwise, women are less likely
to be physically healthy and more likely to require health
care services in TDCJ. It is more cost-efficient to invest in
preventive care by providing nutritional food and plenty of
water to all women in Texas prisons.

27 | An Supported Population | April 2018		

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

Reduce Sexual and Physical Violence Against
Incarcerated Women
Texas has an obligation to ensure that anyone placed under
the supervision of a state or local facility is not subjected
to sexual violence. Texas should comply with the following
recommendations:
•	 Fully implement the Prison Rape Elimination Act
(PREA) National Standards.
•	 Convene a task force of state stakeholders and
independent experts to assess the current practices
and procedures in place to protect against physical
and sexual assaults and to publish transparent
accounts of these incidents in “live time” so the
public can be aware of the incidents nearer in time to
their occurrence.

Program Spotlight!
Girls Embracing Mothers (GEM)
This Dallas-based nonprofit organization works to
empower girls with incarcerated mothers to break the
cycle of incarceration and lead successful lives with
vision and purpose. Attorney Brittany Barnett-Byrd
founded GEM, combining her passion for helping
others with her experience as the daughter of an
incarcerated mother.
For more information, visit
www.girlsembracingmothers.org

•	 Establish an Office of the Independent Ombudsman
to provide independent oversight of all TDCJ and
county jail facilities.
•	 Provide resources to counties to bring jail facilities
into PREA compliance, and provide training and
technical assistance to staff of county jail facilities.

3.	 Remove Barriers to Family Unity
Texas must provide TDCJ with the resources necessary to
improve mother-child interaction.
Children are better able to thrive when their mother remains
in their lives; otherwise, losing a parent to incarceration
can result in serious mental, physical, and emotional
health issues. Many of the negative effects of parental
incarceration can be nullified if children are considered
and accounted for in policies and practices.83 The following
are crucial: helping children understand what is happening
to their parent, themselves, and their families; enabling
them to stay connected with their incarcerated parent;
and supporting children throughout the duration of their
parent’s incarceration and reentry back into the home
and community.84 Maximizing visitation opportunities is
especially critical when the incarcerated parent was active in
the child’s life prior to incarceration.

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition				

“When I was incarcerated in Illinois, there was
a ‘camp’ for kids every summer. Each weekend
of summer 12 incarcerated mothers would be
allowed to spend Friday to Sunday ‘camping’
with their kids in a sectioned-off area of the
prison. Everyone would sleep in sleeping bags
and eat camp food. It was a full weekend of
bonding time between mothers and their kids.
It was amazing. There should be more of this,
and more family reunification programs on a
regular basis.”
–Annette, incarcerated for 20 years

An Unsupported Population | April 2018 | 28

Program Spotlight!
Youth Rise Texas
Youth Rise Texas is an Austin-based organization,
largely comprised of young women and queer youth
of color, who have been impacted by the incarceration
or deportation of a parent or caregiver.
Through popular education, mentorship, community
organizing, and creative cultural production,
Youth Rise is cultivating cutting-edge leadership
in the struggle against mass incarceration, while
contributing to the movement for racial, economic,
and gender justice.
For more information, visit www.youthrisetx.org

Program Spotlight!
Sally’s House
Sally’s House is a transitional center in Houston that
helps women obtain the strength, capability, and
means to perform effectively without drugs and
alcohol. Since 1999, the 60-bed recovery program has
provided individualized care to women recovering
from various addictions.
In 2012, the Ann and Hugh Roff Safe Harbor for
Women, a 20-bed emergency shelter serving women
from all walks of life who find themselves homeless
and in need of shelter, was added to the existing
Sally’s House facility.
Sally’s House offers women rescue, an opportunity
for a full recovery, and a chance to be restored to the
outside world as a person capable of life management
and worthwhile work.
For more information, visit
salvationarmyhouston.org/sallys-house

29 | An Supported Population | April 2018		

Research also shows that, besides benefiting their children,
women inmates’ maintenance of family ties can help reduce
their own recidivism. According to the Urban Institute,
women reporting higher levels of family support were less
likely to return to prison.85 Furthermore, women surveyed
by the Urban Institute reported looking most forward to
reuniting with their children upon release, leading the Urban
Institute to call women’s relationships with their children a
compelling motivator for reentry success.86
TDCJ should remove communication barriers such as
costly charges for phone calls from prison, allowing
mothers to call their children on a regular basis at no cost.
TDCJ should also create more welcoming, family-friendly
visitation areas for children that allow mothers to engage
in play and interact in a meaningful way with their
children. Texas should explore the possibility of allowing
mothers to earn periodic, overnight stays with their children.
It is highly likely that significant anti-recidivism gains could
be had for relatively small investments in encouraging
maintenance of family ties.

4.	 Better Prepare Women for Release from
Incarceration
The recommendations earlier in this report will each help
women better prepare for reentry to their communities and
families. However, it is also important to address the needs of
women that are more specific to the reentry point, and to the
first few weeks after leaving incarceration.
In FY 2016 alone, 11,595 women were released from a TDCJ
facility.87 Although there are fewer overall female inmates,
proportionally speaking, women have a higher release rate
than men.
State and local officials must invest in programming
and resources that give women the tools for a successful
transition. Importantly, services implemented in prison
institutions must be carried forward post-release, thereby
ensuring that care is continued.

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

Provide Pre-Release Programming
If they have not been exposed to relevant programming
throughout their time in confinement, women who will
soon be transitioning out of confinement should undergo
individualized pre-release programming with specific
components, including economic planning; training in
parenting, communication skills, and cognitive thinking;
provision of basic information on legal rights in regard
to reuniting with children, and on dealing with domestic
violence; referrals to other agencies for assistance with
housing and areas of particular importance to women
with children; and support services and emergency
assistance for basic necessities.
Significantly, one group of researchers found that women
who receive gender-specific, trauma-informed care
while incarcerated are 360% more likely to complete
voluntary community-based treatment upon release
and 67% less likely to return to prison than women who
received gender-neutral or male-based therapeutic care
treatment.88

Provide Linkage to Child Welfare Agencies
In addition to offering the above programming, TDCJ
should enter into inter-agency agreements with relevant
child welfare agencies to increase the likelihood of family
reunification upon a woman’s release from incarceration.

Program Spotlight!
Prison Entrepreneurship Program
(PEP)
Described by many as a “mini-MBA” program for
the depth of business information it delivers and
the rigorous pace the students experience, PEP is
dedicated to delivering the nation’s best outcomes in
the prison reentry field.
PEP provides resources and real-world, values-based
business skills to incarcerated individuals so they
have the tools, skills, and support structure to pursue
healthy, fulfilling, and productive lives after returning
to the community.
Recently, PEP launched a women’s program at the
Lockhart Unit. Their first event took place in early
2018, with about 40 participants and 30 executive
volunteers.
For more information, visit
www.pep.org/lockhart-womens-program

Improve Aftercare & Parole Assistance
After a woman’s release from confinement, TDCJ should
provide aftercare and follow-up. Building upon pre-release
training and skills building will decrease the likelihood of
recidivism and strengthen families.
Furthermore, for greatest post-release outcomes, the
Parole Division should encourage parole officers to
tailor supervision methods based on the gender of the parolee. This is especially critical in regards to
helping female parolees find employment. Because of systematic legal and societal barriers, women face
significant obstacles in obtaining meaningful employment upon reentry as a result of their criminal
record — particularly as it relates to employment that will sustain a family.89 Parole officers should
vigorously assist women in finding safe, stable employment.

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition				

An Unsupported Population | April 2018 | 30

Program Spotlight!
Angela House
Angela House was founded in 2001 by Sister Maureen
O’Connell, a former teacher, police officer, and
chaplain. Sister O’Connell recognized a significant
void in services available to women released from
prison in Texas. Remarkably, when Sister O’Connell
asked incarcerated women what primary factor would
have helped them avoid prison, the most prevalent
responses indicated a need for a safe and supportive
home when returning from prison. In the absence of a
supportive home, most women released from prison
return to the streets.
Angela House aims to successfully transition women
into society after incarceration. From its inception
through FY 2016-17, Angela House has served 363
women, all who have come to the home voluntarily.
Angela House has been diligently seeking a pathway
to also serve women on parole in Houston, but
unfortunately, due to a city ordinance, it is restricted
from doing so.
For more information, visit angelahouse.com

Conclusion
With more women incarcerated in Texas than in any other
state in the country,90 Texas has an obligation to respond to
women’s particular needs — both to lessen the traumatic
impacts of incarceration on them and their families, and to
prevent costly re-incarceration.
Landmark legislation is currently being considered in
Congress that would reform the way women are treated
behind bars.91 The Dignity for Incarcerated Women
Act would enact common-sense reforms in the federal
prison system, related to strengthening parental visitation
opportunities, expanding access to health care and hygiene
products, and improving the reentry transition through
mentorships.
Additionally, the UN recently adopted gender-specific
guidance on the treatment of incarcerated women, which
included the recommendation of an on-site nursery where
mothers could spend meaningful time bonding with their
children, more gender-specific occupational training, and a
special center for overall psychological well-being.
Texas can be a leader in implementing similar reforms —
and in preventing incarceration altogether. Voters, including
GOP primary voters,92 and crime survivors93 alike are calling
for prevention and treatment over incarceration. By giving
women the tools to address their underlying causes of
criminality, strengthen their families, and join the workforce,
we can ensure a safer, thriving Texas for generations to come.

“The drastic increase in the women’s prison population has destroyed communities, torn families
apart and done little to promote public safety. This has also had a deep impact on children. In order
to create lasting improvements to public safety we have a responsibility to not only reunite women
inmates with their families, but to also support the rehabilitation and re-entry of these women
inmates into society. In doing so, we must improve the environment in prisons to ensure they are
able to maintain a level of dignity and respect.”

– U.S. Senator Kamala Harris

31 | An Supported Population | April 2018		

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

Endnotes
1.	

Please note that TCJC only surveyed women
housed in women’s corrections units in Texas.

2.	

The Sentencing Project, Incarcerated Women
and Girls (November 2015), 1–5, https://
www.sentencingproject.org/wp-content/
uploads/2016/02/Incarcerated-Women-andGirls.pdf.

3.	

Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ)
data request, 2017; TDCJ Statistical Report Fiscal
Year (FY) 2005–2016.

4.	

Aleks Kajstura, Prison Policy Initiative, in a call
with TCJC policy attorney Lindsey Linder on
September 5, 2017. This refers to all incarcerated
women, including immigrant detainees, and is
based on 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data.

5.	

TDCJ Statistical Reports FY 2009–2016.

6.	

TDCJ data request, 2017; TDCJ Statistical Report
FY 2009–2016.

7.	

Elise Barlow, “Understanding Women in Prison:
A Review of Gender Specific Needs and Risk
Assessments and Their Policy and Research
Implications” (thesis, Portland State University,
2014), 79, 3.

8.	

TDCJ data request, 2017.

9.	

Cary Aspinwall, “More Women Are Jailed in
Texas, Even Though Arrests Have Dropped.
Why?,” Dallas News, December 3, 2017,
https://www.dallasnews.com/news/socialjustice-1/2017/12/03/women-jailed-texas-eventhough-arrests-gone.

10.	 Texas Commission on Jail Standards, Texas
County Jail Population (December 1, 2017).
Please note that TCJC only surveyed women
housed in women’s corrections units in Texas.
11.	 TDCJ data request, 2017.
12.	 TDCJ data request, 2017.
13.	 TDCJ data request, 2017. This figure includes
minor children and adults because the TDCJ
does not differentiate between the two.
14.	 In the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition’s
(TCJC) 2014 Survey of Incarcerated Women in
TDCJ, 55% of women reported they had been
diagnosed with a mental illness.
15.	 Unless otherwise cited, the data contained on
pages (this page to the end) was derived from the
TCJC’s 2014 Survey of Incarcerated Women.
16.	 Alliance for Excellent Education, Crime Rates
Linked to Educational Attainment, 2013 Alliance
Report Finds (2013), https://all4ed.org/press/
crime-rates-linked-to-educational-attainmentnew-alliance-report-finds/.
17.	 Urban Institute, The Challenges of Prisoner
Reentry: Facts and Figures (2008), 1–3.
18.	 Jean Friedman-Rudovsky, “How Former
Prisoners Are Set Up to Fail, Especially If
They’re Women,” Cosmopolitan, 2015, http://
www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/news/a36907/
prisoners-reentry-programs/.

19.	 Camila Domonoske, “Denying Housing Over
Criminal Record May Be Discrimination, Feds
Say,” NPR, April 4, 2016, https://www.npr.org/
sections/thetwo-way/2016/04/04/472878724/
denying-housing-over-criminal-record-may-bediscrimination-feds-say.
20.	 Domonoske.

32.	 TDCJ data request, 2017.
33.	 Please note that women could choose multiple
diagnoses if more than one diagnosis applied
to them.

21.	 Rabia A. Ahmed et al., “The Impact
of Homelessness and Incarceration on
Women’s Health,” Journal of Correctional
Health Care 22, no. 1 (2008): 62–74,
doi:10.1177/1078345815618884.

34.	 TDCJ data request, 2017.

22.	 2017 Federal Poverty Level Guidelines, https://
www.zanebenefits.com/blog/2017-federalpoverty-level-guidelines.
23.	 Mariko Lin Chang, Lifting as We Climb: Women
of Color, Wealth, and America’s Future (Oakland,
CA: Insight Center for Community Economic
Development, 2010), 8.
24.	 Doris J. James and Lauren E. Glaze, Special
Report: Mental Health Problems of Prison and Jail
Inmates (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of
Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006), https://
www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/mhppji.pdf.
25.	 James and Glaze.
26.	 See e.g., S. M. Lynch et al., Women’s Pathways to
Jail: The Roles & Intersections of Serious Mental
Illness and Trauma (2012), https://www.bja.gov/
Publications/Women_Pathways_to_Jail.pdf; S.
M. Lynch, A. Fritch, and N. M. Heath, “Looking
Beneath the Surface: The Nature of Incarcerated
Women’s Experiences of Interpersonal Violence,
Treatment Needs, and Mental Health,” Feminist
Criminology 7(4) (2012): 381–400.
27.	 Kayleen A. Islam-Zwart and Peter W. Vik,
“Female Adjustment to Incarceration as
Influenced by Sexual Assault History, Criminal
Justice and Behavior,” American Association
for Correctional Psychology 31, no. 5 (2004):
521–541.
28.	 B. L. Green et al., “Trauma Exposure, Mental
Health Functioning, and Program Needs of
Women in Jail,” Crime and Delinquency 51, no. 1
(2005): 133–151.
29.	 Christina Cauterucci, “Inside the Legislative
Fight for the Rights of Incarcerated Women,”
Slate, July 19, 2017, http://www.slate.com/blogs/
xx_factor/2017/07/19/kamala_harris_and_cory_
booker_push_new_legislation_for_the_rights_
of_incarcerated.html.
30.	 See e.g., N. Messina, S. Calhoun, and J.
Braithwaite, “Trauma Informed Treatment
Decreases Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among
Women Offenders,” Journal of Trauma &
Dissociation 15, no. 1 (2014):6–23, https://www.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24377969; Lynch et
al., Women’s Pathways to Jail.
31.	 A national survey found 55% of adult males in
state prisons exhibited mental health problems
compared to 73% of women. D. James and L.

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition				

Glaze, Special Report: Mental Health Problems
of Prison and Jail Inmates (Washington, DC:
U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice
Statistics, 2006), https://www.bjs.gov/content/
pub/pdf/mhppji.pdf.

35.	 Hannah Overton in an email to TCJC policy
attorney Lindsey Linder, January 12, 2017.
36.	 https://www.amazon.com/Best-SellersHealth-Personal-Care-Sanitary-Napkins/zgbs/
hpc/3779591.
37.	 https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-HealthPersonal-Care-Tampons/zgbs/hpc/3779601.
38.	 American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU
BRIEFING PAPER: The Shackling of Pregnant
Women & Girls in U.S. Prisons, Jails & Youth
Detention Centers, Issue brief.
39.	 Texas Legislature Online - 81(R) History for HB
3653, http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/
History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB3653.
40.	 Texas Legislature Online - 81(R) History for HB
3654, http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/
History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB3654.
41.	 Texas Government Code, Chapter 501, Inmate
Welfare, http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/
Docs/GV/htm/GV.501.htm#501.066.
42.	 Government Code, Chapter 501.
43.	 Lauren E. Glaze and Laura M. Maruschak,
Parents in Prison and Their Minor Children (U.S.
Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs,
revised 2010), https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/
pdf/pptmc.pdf.
44.	 TDCJ data request. This figure includes minor
children and adults because the TDCJ does not
differentiate between the two. (2016)
45.	 TDCJ data request, 2017.
46.	 Rebecca Shlafer and Laurel Davis, “Pregnant, in
Prison and Facing Health Risks: Prenatal Care
for Incarcerated Women,” The Conversation,
February 19, 2016, https://theconversation.com/
pregnant-in-prison-and-facing-health-risksprenatal-care-for-incarcerated-women-45034.
47.	 TDCJ data request, 2018.
48.	 TDCJ data request, 2018, 2–3.
49.	 TDCJ data request. This figure includes minor
children and adults because the TDCJ does not
differentiate between the two. (2016)
50.	 Prison Phone Justice, Intrastate Collect Prison
Phone Rates, https://www.prisonphonejustice.
org/.
51.	 Securus Technologies, TDCJ Accounts and Rates,
https://securustech.net/tdcj-accounts-and-rates.

An Unsupported Population | April 2018 | 32

52.	 TDCJ, Offender Telephone System, http://www.
tdcj.texas.gov/offender_tele/index.html.
53.	 Lauren Johnson, in an email to TCJC policy
attorney Lindsey Linder on December 4, 2017.
54.	 TDCJ, Offender Telephone System, http://www.
tdcj.texas.gov/offender_tele/index.html.
55.	 TDCJ, Offender Telephone System.
56.	 Statista, Number of Cell Phone Users Who Use
a Prepaid Card in the United States from Spring
2008 to Spring 2017 (in Millions), https://www.
statista.com/statistics/231638/cell-phone-userswho-use-a-prepaid-card-usa/.
57.	 Federal Bureau of Prisons, Inmate Information
Handbook, https://www.bop.gov/locations/
institutions/spg/SPG_aohandbook.pdf.
58.	 TDCJ, Contact Visits: What You Need to Know,
http://www.tdcj.texas.gov/visitation/video_
contact_visits.html.
59.	 HB 549, Texas Legislature Online, 84th
Regular Legislative Session (2015), http://
www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.
aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=HB549.
60.	 Grassroots Leadership, “Texas House Passes
County Jail Visitation Bill,” May 11, 2015, https://
grassrootsleadership.org/releases/2015/05/texashouse-passes-county-jail-visitation-bill.
61.	 Rachel Anspach, “What It’s Like To Grow Up
With a Parent Behind Bars,” Teen Vogue, October
13, 2017, https://www.teenvogue.com/story/
what-its-like-to-have-an-incarcerated-parent.
62.	 Sarah D. Sparks, “Parents’ Incarceration Takes
Toll on Children, Studies Say,” Education Week,
March 10, 2017, https://www.edweek.org/ew/
articles/2015/02/25/parents-incarceration-takestoll-on-children-studies.html.
63.	 Information regarding the Windham School
District was obtained by the TCJC in an email
correspondence with Windham School District
Superintendent, Dr. Clint Carpenter, in January
2018.
64.	 Allen J. Beck et al., Sexual Victimization in
Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2011–12:
National Inmate Survey, 2011–12 (Washington,
D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice
Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2013).
65.	 Dave Gilson, “What We Know About Violence
in America’s Prisons: One Fifth of Inmates Say
They’ve Been Assaulted by Another Prisoner or
a Guard,” Mother Jones, July and August, 2016,
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/06/
attacks-and-assaults-behind-bars-cca-privateprisons/#.
66.	 Colleen Clark, Addressing Histories of Trauma
and Victimization Through Treatment (The
National GAINS Center for People with CoOccurring Disorders in the Justice System,
September 2002) 2, 3. Note additionally:
“Gender-Specific Programs May Be More
Effective for Female Offenders, Particularly
Those with Histories of Trauma and Abuse,”
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA),
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), #14: “What
are the unique treatment needs for women in the
criminal justice system?,” http://www.nida.nih.
gov/podat_cj/faqs/faqs2.html.

33 | An Supported Population | April 2018		

67.	 Nancy LaVigne, Lisa E. Brooks, and Tracey
L. Shollenberger, Women on the Outside:
Understanding the Experiences of Female
Prisoners Returning to Houston, Texas, Urban
Institute, June 2009, 3.

83.	 Oliver Robertson, The Impact of Parental
Imprisonment on Children (Geneva: Quakers
United Nations Office, Women in Prison and
Children of Imprisoned Mothers Series, April
2007), 9.

68.	 LaVigne, Brooks, and Shollenberger, 3.

84.	 Robertson, 9.

69.	 Elise Barlow, “Understanding Women in Prison:
A Review of Gender Specific Needs and Risk
Assessments and Their Policy and Research
Implications” (thesis, Portland State University,
2014), 4.

85.	 LaVigne, Brooks, and Shollenberger, “Women on
the Outside,” 8.

70.	 Barlow, 4.
71.	 Joel L. Young, “Women and Mental Illness,”
Psychology Today (2015), https://www.
psychologytoday.com/blog/when-your-adultchild-breaks-your-heart/201504/women-andmental-illness.
72.	 8,733 out of 12,508; 78,511 out of 134,545.
(2016)
73.	 Barlow, “Understanding Women in Prison,” 18.
74.	 Barbara Bloom, Barbara Owen, and Stephanie
Covington, A Summary of Research, Practice,
and Guiding Principles for Women Offenders
(U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of
Corrections, May 2008), https://s3.amazonaws.
com/static.nicic.gov/Library/020418.pdf.
75.	 Bloom, Owen, and Covington.
76.	 Tim Brennan, Markus Breitenback, and William
Dieterich, “Unraveling Women’s Pathways to
Serious Crime: New Findings and Links to Prior
Feminist Pathways,” Perspectives: The Journal of
the American Probation and Parole Association
(Spring 2010), http://www.northpointeinc.com/
files/publications/Spring_2010_Cover_Article.
pdf.
77.	 B. B. Benda, N. J. Harm, N. J. Tombs, “Survival
Analysis of Recidivism in Male and Female Boot
Camp Graduates Using Life-Course Theory,”
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 40 (2005):
87–113, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/
abs/10.1300/J076v40n03_05.
78.	 TDCJ data request, 2017. This figure includes
minor children and adults because the TDCJ
does not differentiate between the two. (2016)

86.	 LaVigne, Brooks, and Shollenberger, 10.
87.	 TDCJ Statistical Report Fiscal Year (FY) 2016,
p. 46.
88.	 Clark, “Addressing Histories of Trauma,” 2, 3.
Note additionally: “Gender-specific programs
may be more effective for female offenders,
particularly those with histories of trauma and
abuse,” NIDA, FAQs, #14: “What are the unique
treatment needs for women in the criminal
justice system?,” http://www.nida.nih.gov/podat_
cj/faqs/faqs2.html.
89.	 Bronwyn Mauldin, Reentry and Barriers to
Employment: Lessons from Casey’s Investments
(The Annie E. Casey Foundation, September
2016), 4-5, http://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/
AECF-ReentryAndBarrierstoEmp-2016.pdf.
90.	 Aleks Kajstura, Prison Policy Initiative, in a call
with TCJC policy attorney Lindsey Linder on
September 5, 2017. This refers to all incarcerated
women, including immigrant detainees, and is
based on 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data.
91.	 Cory Booker, “Actions — S.1524 — 115th
Congress (2017–2018): Dignity Act” Congress.
gov, July 11, 2017, https://www.congress.gov/
bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1524/actions.
92.	 Texas Smart-on-Crime Coalition, Texas Voters
Survey Results (2017), http://smartoncrimetexas.
com/2017/04/19/texas-voters-survey-results/.
93.	 Alliance for Safety and Justice, Crime Survivors
Speak: The First Ever National Survey of Victims’
Views on Safety and Justice, https://www.
allianceforsafetyandjustice.org/wp-content/
uploads/documents/Crime%20Survivors%20
Speak%20Report.pdf.

79.	 Charlene Wear Simmons and Emily DankerFeldman, “Parental Incarceration, Termination
of Parental Rights and Adoption: A Case Study
of the Intersection Between the Child Welfare
and Criminal Justice Systems,” Justice Policy
Journal 7, no. 2 (2010), http://www.cjcj.org/
uploads/cjcj/documents/Parental_Incarceration.
pdf.
80.	 HB 239, Bill Analysis, http://www.capitol.state.
tx.us/tlodocs/85R/analysis/pdf/HB00239F.
pdf#navpanes=0.
81.	 Melissa Goodman, Ruth Dawson, and Phyllida
Burlingame, Reproductive Health Behind Bars in
California (San Francisco, CA: American Civil
Liberties Union of California, 2016), 18.
82.	 Jessica Kane, “Here’s How Much a
Woman’s Period Cost Her Over a Lifetime,”
Huffpost, May 18, 2015, https://www.
huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/18/period-costlifetime_n_7258780.html.

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

An Unsupported
Population:
The Treatment of Women in
Texas’ Criminal Justice System

APRIL 2018

For more information please contact:
Lindsey Linder
Texas Criminal Justice Coalition
1714 Fortview Road, Suite 104
Austin, Texas 78704
(512) 441-8123
llinder@texascjc.org
www.TexasCJC.org

 

 

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