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Episode 232 - Dr. Elizabeth Allen: Women and Mass Incarceration: Unique Needs and Challenges

Monday, January 29, 2018, 8:02:17 AM

Image of Dr. Elizabeth K. Allen

In this episode, our guest Dr. Elizabeth Allen discusses her experiences as a practitioner and researcher, exploring the unique needs of women involved in the correctional system and how to promote their successful reintegration into their families and communities. Dr. Allen describes the importance of not only focusing on women's individual resources but also accounting for the socio-political structural factors that must be addressed if women are to reconnect with their families and their communities of support.

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Average Rating: 5stars  insightful and empowering, Wednesday, April 18, 2018

By Lyndsay :

Dr. Eilzabeth Allen discusses the unique needs and experiences of women during incarceration and afterwards. As she speaks of these women's experiences, she also speaks about the unintended consequences of the mass incarceration of women. Women are the fastest growing population in the criminal justice system and when they are arrested, their children more often than not are seeing them arrested. This traumatic experience then trickles down into schools and creates a cycle of poverty. I thought it was very important that she talked about the fact that you cannot fix one system without the others, which will take a long time. Social workers and academics have been working together to try and prevent incarceration but all of the other systems also need to put in an effort to break the cycle. Since our criminal justice system is one that wants people to be quiet and do as they are told, when empowered women become incarcerated they are seen as trouble and are then punished. Due to this, they leave prisons with a diminished self-esteem and identify as a criminal. Social workers can help this by creating a pro-social identity for these women and helping them keep connections with the community while they are in prison. Having community connections has proven to help women not return to prison and keep a positive attitude. It is important to keep all of this in mind as 98% of people get out of incarceration so people in the community have to ask themselves who do they want living next to them-a rehabilitated person or an "animal"? This podcast has definitely given me a deeper understanding of the uniqueness of incarcerated women.



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Average Rating: 5stars  engaging and inspiring!, Sunday, February 11, 2018

By Sarah :

Dr. Allen provides her professional experience in regards to a 21-year career as a practitioner within the correctional system. She shares her story of implementing support groups within the prison community which allowed for reciprocal rehabilitation. Female prisoners who had suffered their own traumatic events were given the opportunity to serve as mentors to other inmates and provide one another with valuable information and support through transition period to their newly changed life within prison walls. The population of female inmates is often disregarded by society. This podcast gives listeners information that is often overlooked or unknown by outsiders. Allen explains that it can be extremely difficult for prisoners to adjust to a long-term sentence, different lifestyle, and living with mixed populations of individuals. Dr. Allen provides the unintended consequences of mass incarceration of women which involves severing ties to community resources which makes it difficult for women to re-integrate back into society. Overall an very enlightening podcast which engages the listener and provide an avenue for more personal research on this marginalized population!!


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Average Rating: 5stars  truly amazing work with an overlooked population , Sunday, February 11, 2018

By Caleigh Ames :

I found Dr. Elizabeth Allen’s podcast enlightening because it offered listeners a new perspective towards women involved in the correctional system. I found her research on how women can reintegrate into society successfully, refreshing and unique. She points out that while there are many factors that contribute to a woman being detained, there are just as many factors that affect them even after their incarceration. In the end, the women themselves have to have the want to change but also, the community around them, for example, police officers, need to accept them as well. Dr. Allen’s description of how change is not a “yes” or “no” answer truly changed my way of thinking about recovery. You have to allow for mistakes within the recovery period; it is a process. This reminded me of my work with domestic violence and sexual assault survivors; they have to accept that recovery is a lifestyle. It is sometimes hard for these survivors to just walk away from their abusive situation and while that might frustrate them, they work on little by little. Women offenders are a population that I think is overlooked in the social work community and some may fear to take it on. Dr. Allen's work is truly inspiring. I will definitely be keeping up with her further research with this population.

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