The collateral consequences of women's incarceration are significant. 
When we incarcerate women and girls, we are also incarcerating children, families and entire communities.
There is a critical need to redefine how we talk about women’s justice from the lens of gender, race and intersectionality. The WJI is anchored by women who have lived experiences in the system and a diverse stakeholder network. Together we are acknowledging and amplifying women’s strengths, resistance and survival and creating new pathways to real justice.
​​Our  Approach
The work of the WJI centers on promotion and implementation of “gender responsive” practices throughout the justice system.  Broadly defined, gender responsive approaches are those that intentionally allow research and knowledge on women to affect and guide policy and practice at all levels of service delivery.

To ensure greater safety and improved outcomes among justice-involved women, gender responsive approaches should be applied at the macro level in terms of how justice systems are designed and function, and at the facility and community levels in terms of how agencies operate and deliver services.

​​​​​​The Five CORE Principles of Gender Responsiveness
​​​​​​Relationship-based programs/services are rooted in relational-cultural theory and relational psychology. They acknowledge the centrality of relationships and social capital in females’ lives, including those among children and families. 
Strengths-based programs and services adopt an intentional movement away from a deficit approach with justice-involved women and girls, and, instead: focus on strengths, talents and assets; recast “negative” behaviors as survival behaviors; and restore healthy power and control. 
Trauma-informed practices incorporate knowledge about the disproportionate impact of gender-based violence and the unique impact of trauma on women and girls, thereby increasing effectiveness. They help prevent trauma triggering reactions, and grow coping capacity and empowerment of survivors to manage symptoms successfully. 
Culturally Responsive
Culturally competent programs and services have a defined set of values and principles, and demonstrate behaviors, attitudes, policies and structures that enable them to work effectively cross-culturally. They ensure practitioners value diversity, conduct self evaluation, can manage the dynamics of difference and can adapt to the cultural contexts of the communities they serve.
​​​Holistic programs/services acknowledge the larger context of females’ lives, and, in turn, the larger context of their thoughts, feelings, behaviors and decision-making. This means that practitioners understand pathways theory and the unique causes and correlates of females' justice system involvement. Holistic programs are also oriented toward empowerment and advocacy.