Emily Salisbury, an Assistant Professor in Criminology at Portland State University, spoke at the March CCQ member meeting about the unique needs and risks of women offenders. She explained that women who commit crimes have often experienced lives of extreme poverty, child abuse, ongoing adult victimization, low educational achievement, mental illness, self-medicating behavior with alcohol or other drugs, unhealthy intimate relationships, parental stress, and low levels of self-esteem and self-efficacy.
In Oregon the same assessment procedures are used for both women and men entering prison. Dr. Salisbury advocates for using a risk/needs assessment instrument developed specifically for women offenders by the National Institute of Corrections. She also argues that treatment programs designed for women should be made available to as many female offenders as possible, not just to women with the highest risk of reoffending.
Dr. Salisbury spoke highly of the CCQ program because it offers incarcerated women a safe, respectful place to practice new behaviors. We model healthy relationships which can be especially important for women who have been victimized. For more about Dr. Salisbury’s background and a list of the classes she teaches, see her profile page on the Portland State University website.