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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Project: Campus only access

Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Herbert Shon


The exponential increase in the annual number of women released from prison in the United States underscores the imperative need for holistic, fully integrated gender-responsive reentry services. The purpose of this qualitative study is to understand the unique contributions of paraprofessional staff charged with meeting the multi-layered, programmatic needs of women offenders with co-occurring disorders. A qualitative, evidence-based interview guide was used to analyze the utilization of gender-responsive services provided by 21 paraprofessionals throughout four Southern California Counties. The findings indicate that while paraprofessional staff members understand the concept and approach of gender-responsive oriented services, there remain significant programmatic barriers that not only impair the reduction of recidivism rates, but also undermine successful community reentry efforts. These findings support the inherent micro and macro-based approaches to social work that acknowledge a systems approach to improving outcomes for women offenders striving toward health and wellness.