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Women's Reentry Assessment Programming, and Services

A Randomized Control Trial of Gender-Responsive Probation Supervision

Principal Investigator (PI) / Project Lead:


Funding Organization:

Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Office of Justice Programs

Award Number:


Project Period:

10/1/2018 – 8/31/2021

Total Funding:


Project Status:



Project Description:

Gender-responsive approaches start with women in mind and address womens' gendered pathways into the system, their needs, strengths, and lived experiences. The Multnomah County Department of Community Justice (DCJ) Women and Family Services Unit (WFSU) has fully embraced and implemented gender-responsive approaches when working with women on their caseloads. For the purposes of this grant, the unit created a more enhanced wraparound, gender- responsive, and trauma-informed support model of supervision called Women’s Reentry Assessment, Programming, and Services (WRAPS). The overarching goal of the WRAPS model was to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for women released from, or at risk of, jail through the implementation of a comprehensive, data-driven, and trauma-informed continuum of care designed to address their individual criminogenic needs. A major component of the WRAPS model was the utilization and support of Community Health Specialists (CHSs) paired with the two WRAPS probation officers assigned to the intervention. CHSs worked alongside probation officers (POs) to provide additional support to women as they navigated community supervision. The purpose of the current study was to utilize a randomized control trial outcome evaluation design to examine the effectiveness of the WRAPS model in comparison to ‘gender-responsive supervision as usual.



The evaluation implemented a mixed-methods approach and utilized various data sources to explore the outcomes and experiences of women engaged in the WRAPS model (n = 49) compared to the control group (n = 44) over approximately three years (Oct. 1st, 2018 – Aug. 31st, 2021). Recidivism data were collected from the Multnomah County DCJ Research and Planning team and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. With the social and public health barriers created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the massive social unrest in Portland after the murder of George Floyd, researchers anticipated a significant impact on the data associated with recidivism; therefore, the study pivoted to a more qualitative focus on staff and client experiences. This was done by conducting interviews with clients from the treatment and control groups as well as WFSU staff using a purposive sampling technique.

No significant differences were found when quantitatively comparing various recidivism outcomes between the treatment and control groups (e.g., jail bookings, prison admissions, revocations). This suggests that these groups were relatively similar as far as recidivism outcomes, and neither condition (WRAPS and gender-responsive supervision as usual) was more or less effective. We interpret this as positive evidence in support of gender-responsive probation supervision, because it indicates that, on the whole, this model is working. Moreover, qualitative evidence showed that the CHSs played a critical role in reducing sanctions for WRAPS clients by guiding them toward healthier choices to solve problems before crises occurred. Overall, women positively perceived gender-responsive supervision in both the treatment and control groups. Probation officers similarly valued the WRAPS model; they had more time to engage in interventions targeting women’s criminogenic needs when many of the clients' responsivity needs were addressed by the CHSs.

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Updated as of May 17, 2022

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Last Updated: 6/14/24