Women Probationers: Supervision and Success.

Author:Anderson, Judy C.
Position:Book Review

Women Probationers: Supervision and Success by Earlene Festervan, American Correctional Association, 2003, 132 pp.

Women Probationers: Supervision and Success by Earlene Festervan is a quick read containing practical information about female offenders to assist the probation/parole officer who supervises them. As noted in the introduction, women are almost universally undervalued and often oppressed; however, they can do good things when given the opportunity. This book outlines how the supervisor can give women those opportunities through gender-responsive principles and strategies.

The book is divided into easy-to-read chapters about female offenders, and their issues and concerns. Basically, the needs assessment has been done--relationships, children/pregnancy, employment and education, physical and mental health, and substance abuse. There is a sample intake interview/needs assessment, which includes salient questions covering many areas, including the six primary need areas for women. These areas are:

* Adult survivors of sexual abuse and incest;

* Domestic violence;

* Education/vocational training;

* Substance abuse;

* Parenting; and

* Medical/psychological problems.

What is lacking in this assessment is the current status of the primary area of concern--relationships. At the conclusion of each chapter, there are reminders about female offenders and tips on how to provide gender-responsive services for the specific need.

The book also includes an excellent chapter on how to develop a philosophy and a mission for programming. Festervan strongly suggests that the "reasonable taxpayer" principle, which is a measure used to denote acceptability, should guide program design. It is based upon the premise that a taxpayer would be willing to fund/support the intiative. What is it that correctional practitioners and the community want the female offender to do?

We want her to be legally self-sufficient, take care of her children properly, maintain good physical and mental health, be drug free, be in a healthy relationship if in one, etc. Festervan emphasizes...

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