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New Study: Women in Prison Require Services that Address Trauma, Centre for Research on Inner City Health, St. Michael’s Hospital

Centre for Research on Inner City Health's recent study explores the experiences of 31 women who have experienced incarceration in federal prisons. As do the vast majority of women who enter prison, these women have also had experiences of childhood physical, psychological and/or sexual abuse. In many cases, these experiences have continued into adulthood. The women we spoke to clearly told us they need and want help to recover from trauma. Based on their stories we provide two recommendations:

  • Screening for trauma should be included in prison mental health assessments in order to establish the scope of the problem and begin to develop responses. While we have no national data in Canada, international studies demonstrate that up to 90 per cent of women who enter prison have experienced abuse.
  • Women who leave jails and prisons need to be connected to services that can help them address trauma. This requires screening and referral on the prison side, along with the development of a network of trauma informed and specific services in the community.

To read the full text of the study, A Call For Help: Women Offenders’ Reflections on Trauma Care, please click here:; 50 free downloads are available.

You can watch an interview related to this paper here:

You can also read a St. Michael’s Hospital media release here.