Beyond Violence: A Program for Criminal Justice-Involved Women (BV)

About This Program

Target Population: Women in criminal justice settings (jails, prisons, and community corrections) with histories of anger, aggression and/or violence

Program Overview

BV is a manualized curriculum for women in criminal justice settings (jails, prisons, and community corrections) with histories of anger, aggression and/or violence. It deals with the violence and trauma they have experienced, as well as the violence they may have committed. It's based on a four-level model of violence prevention which considers the complex interplay between individual, relationship, community, and societal factors. This is a 20-session (40-hour) intervention that consists of a facilitator guide, participant workbook, and DVD. The facilitator's manual is a step-by-step guide for running groups and includes the DVD, What I Want My Words To Do To You by Eve Ensler. BV utilizes a variety of therapeutic strategies (e.g., psycho-education, role playing, mindfulness activities, cognitive-behavioral restructuring, and grounding skills for trauma triggers).

Program Goals

The goals of Beyond Violence: A Program for Criminal Justice-Involved Women (BV) are:

  • Decrease violent outbursts
  • Decrease depression and anxiety
  • Increase self-efficacy
  • Stabilize recovery
  • Increase understanding of trauma
  • Increase appropriate expression of anger
  • Essential Components

    The essential components of Beyond Violence: A Program for Criminal Justice-Involved Women (BV) include:

    • Designed as a group intervention and can be adapted for use with individuals
    • Designed to include 6 to 10 women with one facilitator (however, co-facilitation is highly recommended)
    • Curriculum should ideally be implemented sequentially in closed groups or individual sessions
    • Four modules with specific topic areas for each of the 19 sessions, plus an Orientation Session
      • Module A: Self (6 sessions with a total of 22 activities):
        • Thinking Our Thoughts
        • Feeling Our Feelings
        • Violence and Trauma in Our Lives
        • The Effects of Trauma
        • Women and Anger
        • Understanding Ourselves
      • Module B: Relationships (5 sessions with a total of 15 activities):
        • Our Families
        • Communication
        • Power and Control
        • Conflict Resolution
        • Creating Our Relationships
      • Module C: Community (4 sessions with a total of 13 activities):
        • My Community
        • The Importance of Safety
        • Creating Community
        • The Power of Community
      • Module D: Society (4 sessions with a total of 9 activities):
        • Society and Violence
        • Creating Change
        • Transforming Our Lives
        • Honoring Ourselves and Our Community
    • A community version of the curricula entitled Beyond Anger and Violence: A Program for Women (BAV) is available

    Program Delivery

    Adult Services

    Beyond Violence: A Program for Criminal Justice-Involved Women (BV) directly provides services to adults (regardless of whether they are parents or caregivers) and addresses the following:

    • Anger, violence, and aggression

    Recommended Intensity:

    2-hour sessions once or twice per week

    Recommended Duration:

    20 sessions (10 weeks or 20 weeks depending on frequency of sessions)

    Delivery Settings

    This program is typically conducted in a(n):

    • Community Agency
    • Jail
    • Outpatient Clinic
    • Prison or prerelease center
    • Residential Treatment Center
    • Courtroom

    Homework

    Beyond Violence: A Program for Criminal Justice-Involved Women (BV) includes a homework component:

    Women have a journal to process their group experience and practice skills.

    Languages

    Beyond Violence: A Program for Criminal Justice-Involved Women (BV) has materials available in a language other than English:

    Spanish

    For information on which materials are available in this language, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

    Resources Needed to Run Program

    The typical resources for implementing the program are:

  • Facilitator’s guide
  • Flip chart
  • Workbooks
  • Room with chairs in a circle
  • A group facilitator
  • Art supplies for collage work
  • Education and Training

    Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

    There are no minimum provider qualifications. This has been implemented by a range of educational levels from PhDs to peer educators.

    Education and Training Resources

    There is a manual that describes how to implement this program , and there is training available for this program.

    Training Contact:
    Training is obtained:

    Training can be provided onsite. There are also trainings available at various sites in California and other parts of the U.S.

    Number of days/hours:

    Generally 2 or 3 days

    Additional Resources:

    There currently are additional qualified resources for training:

    There are also other certified trainers available by contacting the above. Fidelity scales are available upon request.

    Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

    Kubiak, S. P., Kim, W. J., Fedock, G., & Bybee, D. (2012). Assessing short-term outcomes of an intervention for women convicted of violent crimes. Journal for the Society for Social Work and Research, 3(3), 197-212. doi:10.5243/jsswr.2012.13 

    Type of Study: Pretest-posttest study
    Number of Participants: 35

    Population:

    • Age — 33-38 years
    • Race/Ethnicity — 57% White, 40% Black, and 3% Native American
    • Gender — 100% Female
    • Status — Participants were individuals incarcerated females with violent offenses in the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) unit of state prison.

    Location/Institution: Midwestern US

    Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
    This study examines the effects of Beyond Violence with incarcerated females with violent offenses in the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) unit of state prison. Measures utilized include the Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ), The Short Screening Scale for DSM-IV Posttraumatic Stress Disorder-Modified Version, The K6, the Buss-Warren Aggression Questionnaire (AQ), the Revised Expressions of Aggression Scale (Revised Expagg), and the Self-Appraisal Questionnaire (SAQ). Group 1 consisted of 13 women, including five with life sentences, who met criteria in the first RSAT cohort. Groups 2 and 3 were women that entered RSAT 3 months later in the second cohort: Group 2 consisted of 10 women, including one with a life sentence; and Group 3 consisted of 11 women, all labeled as having a dual diagnosis, including two with life sentences. Results indicate symptoms attributed to mental health disorders decreased significantly by the end of the intervention, with the largest effect attributable to anxiety symptoms. Limitations include lack of randomization of participants, small sample size, and attrition.

    Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

    Kubiak, S., Kim, W. J., Fedock, G., & Bybee, D. (2015). Testing a violence-prevention intervention for incarcerated women using a randomized control trial. Research on Social Work Practice, 25(3), 334-348. doi:10.1177/1049731514534300 

    Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
    Number of Participants: 22

    Population:

    • Age — Mean=34 years
    • Race/Ethnicity — 64% Black, 32% White, and 4% Other
    • Gender — 100% Female
    • Status — Participants were individuals incarcerated females with violent offenses in the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) unit of state prisons.

    Location/Institution: Midwestern U.S.

    Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
    This study’s purpose is to assess the efficacy of Beyond Violence (BV) on testing the feasibility and efficacy of the intervention in a new setting (i.e., general population vs. specialized treatment unit). Eligible women were randomly assigned to treatment as usual (TAU) and the experimental condition (BV). Measures utilized include the Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ), The Short Screening Scale for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, PTSD, and the State and Trait Anger scale (STAXI-2). Results indicate positive changes for both groups. Significant between-group differences favor BV on only 3 of the 14 measures of anger that were examined. BV is cost-effective with only 20 sessions compared to 44 sessions for TAU. Limitations include small participant size, selection bias, and findings are specific to the population of this study, women who were convicted of violent offenses and were diagnosed to have substance abuse dependency by the SASSI.

    Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

    Kubiak , S., Fedock, G., Kim, W. J., & Bybee, D. (2016). Long-term outcomes of a RCT intervention study for women with violent crimes. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 7(4), 661-679. doi:10.1086/689356

    Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial (secondary data analysis)
    Number of Participants: 35

    Population:

    • Age — Not specified
    • Race/Ethnicity — 50% Black and 50% White
    • Gender — 100% Female
    • Status — Participants were incarcerated women serving life sentences.

    Location/Institution: Not specified

    Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
    This study focuses on long-term outcomes, assessing whether the Beyond Violence (BV) is more effective than the treatment-as-usual condition (TAU) in reducing recidivism and relapse and enhancing treatment admission one year after prison release. Participants included 35 women (TAU n=16; BV n=19). Two administrative data sets, as well as parole officer case notes, were used to track the women’s outcomes related to recidivism, relapse, and treatment admission during the follow-up period. The measure utilized was data extracted from parole officers’ case notes, and state-level database information. Results indicate women who received BV were less likely to recidivate than those who received TAU. The odds of women in the BV condition recidivating decreased by 79% compared to the rate for women in the TAU condition. Although women in BV were less likely to relapse (26% vs. 50%), the difference was not statistically significant. Women in BV were less likely to be referred to treatment, but there were no differences in treatment admission. Limitations include small participant size, selection bias, and the variability in measurement is problematic and argues for a more objective measure of relapse.

    Length of postintervention follow-up: 12 months.

    Messina , N. P., Braithwaite, J., Calhoun, S., & Kubiak, S. (2016). Examination of a violence prevention program for female offenders. Violence and Gender, 3(3), 143-149. doi:10.1089/vio.2015.0048

    Type of Study: One-group pretest-posttest study
    Number of Participants: 91

    Population:

    • Age — Mean=36 years
    • Race/Ethnicity — 35 Latina/Hispanic, 28% Black, 23% White, and 14% Multiracial/Other
    • Gender — 100% Female
    • Status — Participants were incarcerated women.

    Location/Institution: Two California prisons

    Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
    This study examines results from Beyond Violence (BV) in preventing and reducing violence in the lives of incarcerated women in two California prisons. Measures utilized include the Buss-Warren Aggression Questionnaire (AQ), the Patient Health Questionnaire 9-item depression subscale, the Short Screening Scale for DSM-IV Posttraumatic Stress Disorder-modified version, the Revised Instrumental and Expressive Representation Scales, the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2 (STAXI-2), the Conflict Tactics Scales, the Abuse Behavior Inventory, and the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE). Results showed significantly positive outcomes, with moderate to high effect sizes for women incarcerated for long terms or life on reductions in posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, anger, aggression, and symptoms of serious mental illness. Limitations include small participant size, selection bias, and lack of control group.

    Length of postintervention follow-up: 12 months.

    Fedock , G., Kubiak, S., & Bybee, D. (2017). Testing a new intervention with incarcerated women serving life sentences. Research on Social Work Practice. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/1049731517700272

    Type of Study: Two-group pretest-posttest study
    Number of Participants: 26

    Population:

    • Age — Not specified
    • Race/Ethnicity — 50% Black and 50% White
    • Gender — 100% Female
    • Status — Participants were incarcerated women serving life sentences.

    Location/Institution: Not specified

    Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
    This study utilized the Beyond Violence (BV) program to examine changes in incarcerated women’s mental health and anger expression. Participants were divided into two BV treatment groups (Group A with 14 women; Group B with 12 women) with no control group. Identical treatment was administered to these two groups. Measures utilized include the Patient Health Questionnaire: Anxiety and Depression subscales, the Short Screening Scale for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, PTSD, and the State and Trait Anger scale (STAXI-2). Results indicate significant positive outcomes were found for all women for some anger measures, and women who had been in prison for less than 10 years started with higher scores on multiple measures and showed significant changes over time. Limitations include small participant size, selection bias, lack of control group, and length of follow-up.

    Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 months.

    Additional References

    Covington, S. S. (2013). Understanding and applying gender differences in recovery. In A. L. O’Neil & J. Lucas (Eds.), DAWN Drugs and Alcohol Women Network: Promoting a gender responsive approach to addiction (pp. 339-362). Turin, Italy: United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).

    White, W. L. (2014). Advocacy for gender-specific addiction treatment and recovery support: An interview with Dr. Stephanie Covington. Retrieved from http://www.williamwhitepapers.com/pr/2014%20Dr.%20Stephanie%20Covington%20Interview.pdf

    Covington, S., & Fedock, G. (2015, Fall). Beyond Violence: Women in prison find meaning, hope, and healing. Trauma Matters. Retrieved from https://www.centerforgenderandjustice.org/assets/files/trauma-matters-fall-newsletter-2015.pdf

    Contact Information

    Stephanie S. Covington, PhD, LCSW
    Agency/Affiliation: Center for Gender and Justice
    Website: www.stephaniecovington.com/trainings-and-workshops.php
    Email:
    Phone: (858) 454-8528
    Fax: (858) 454-8598

    Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: April 2018

    Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: April 2018

    Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: November 2015