Helping Female Inmates

The number of women incarcerated in the United States has quadrupled since 1985, leaving most jails poorly equipped to handle their needs, according to a study by Associate Professor Vanessa Alleyne, who teaches in the addiction studies program in the Department of Counseling and Educational Leadership.

Alleyne, along with nine student researchers, looked at the mental, social, emotional and medical needs of 250 female inmates at Bergen County Jail in Hackensack and found that a lack of resources for female inmates created exceedingly long waits for spots in drug treatment programs compared to men. Her study, which compared demographic data from other women’s jails and prisons across the country, led to the establishment of an in-house substance abuse program for women in the jail, where Alleyne has begun work with officials on evaluation of addiction and mental health services.