Responsivity issues

The responsivity principle is beyond the scope of this paper. Gender-specific programmes are discussed further in detail by King (2004) and Covington and Bloom (1998). Based on this literature review responsivity issues for female offenders could include mental health problems (depression, PTSD), borderline personality disorder, abuse experiences, addiction, parenting responsibilities and associated issues (pregnancy, dependant children), unsafe living situation (domestic violence), health, self-harm, poor self-esteem, unemployment, and lack of educational and vocational skills. Some issues are rather complex and interact with other problems and needs.

An enhancement model, as proposed by Sorbello, Eccleston, Ward and Jones (2002) would focus on noncriminogenic needs - likely to be responsivity issues - to establish therapeutic rapport and open ways for women to meet their fundamental needs or primary goods, which in return could reduce the probability of recidivism once they are released from prison.

Gender-specific treatment could include treatment of specific mental health problems for females. It is suggested that the outcome of criminogenic and non-criminogenic treatment for Maori female offenders could be measured with Hua Oranga, a Maori measure of mental health outcome. This tool is "a cultural measure of outcome [and] designed to complement more clinically focused, targeted measures. … "Hua Oranga" is recommended as an appropriate outcome measure for determining responses of Maori clients to care and treatment in mental health settings" (Kingi & Durie, 2000, p. 11)