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10 Health & Just. 1 (2022)

handle is hein.journals/hlthjs10 and id is 1 raw text is: Edwards et al. Health and Justice  (2022) 10:1
https://doi.org/1 0.1186/s40352-021-00162-6

Health and Justice

RES    ARCH     AR   iL *0e S.-                                                            *
A systematic review of post-release
programs for women exiting prison with
substance-use disorders: assessing current
programs and weighing the evidence
Layla Edwards1, Sacha Kendall Jamieson2,5 Julia Bowman3,4, Sungwon Chang6, Josie Newton7 and
Elizabeth Sullivan4'8'9
Background: The rising rates of women in prison is a serious public health issue. Unlike men, women in prison are
characterised by significant histories of trauma, poor mental health, and high rates of substance use disorders
(SUDs). Recidivism rates of women have also increased exponentially in the last decade, with substance related
offences being the most imprisoned offence worldwide. There is a lack of evidence of the effectiveness of post-
release programs for women. The aim of this systematic review is to synthesise and evaluate the evidence on post-
release programs for women exiting prison with SUDs.
Methods: We searched eight scientific databases for empirical original research published in English with no date
limitation. Studies with an objective to reduce recidivism for adult women (>18 years) with a SUD were included.
Study quality was assessed using the revised Cochrane Risk of Bias tool for randomized trials (RoB2) and the Risk of
Bias in Non-randomized Studies - of Interventions (ROBINS-) tools.
Results: Of the 1493 articles, twelve (n = 3799 women) met the inclusion criteria. Recidivism was significantly
reduced in five (42%) programs and substance-use was significantly reduced in one (8.3%) program. Common
attributes among programs that reduced recidivism were: transitional, gender-responsive programs; provision of
individualised support; providing substance-related therapy, mental health and trauma treatment services.
Methodological and reporting biases were common, which impacted our ability to synthesize results further.
Recidivism was inconsistently measured across studies further impacting the ability to compare results across

* Correspondence: E.Sullivan@newcastle.edu.au
4Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, NSW 2007,
Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, University of Newcastle, Callaghan,
NSW 2308, Australia
Full list of author information is available at the end of the article


© The Author(s). 2021 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License,
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