Social Work

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper


Mary Tinucci


This research is a systematic review of the available literature regarding gender specific programming in women’s prisons. The purpose of this research is to explore if gender-specific chemical dependency programming in women’s prisons addresses the issue of shame. A review of the literature provides the historical context of gender-specific programming, identifies the specific needs of women in prison, reviews the prevalence of mental health and substance use disorders, explores shame research, and identifies the interconnection between shame and chemical dependency. This study is grounded in feminist, relational, and shame resilience theories. After reviewing the available literature and applying specific inclusion and exclusion criteria set by the researcher, eight articles were included as data for this study. Findings provide an understanding of what gender specific programming contains. The researcher identified three prominent themes regarding the importance of emotional safety, social support, and staff training. Two additional subthemes state the need to increase research on gender-specific programming, and the need for macro policy change. The researcher also discusses the importance of including interventions that address shame. Limitations of this study and implications for social work practice, policy, and research are also considered.


women, prison, gender-specific, shame, substance use, treatment

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.