The Impact of Incarceration and Mandatory Minimums on Survivors: Exploring the Impact of Criminalizing Policies on African American Women and Girls

Office of Violence Against Women Roundtable
Paper/Research Report
Published: January, 2017
Office of Violence Against Women, US Department of Justice, Washington, DC

This report summarizes key points and recommendations from a roundtable convened by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) in September 2015 that examined how criminalization policies impact the lives of African American women and girls. The goals of the roundtable were to: 1) review the impact of criminalization policies on African American women and girls who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence; 2)  review efforts to prevent and respond to domestic violence and sexual assault since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act; 3) discuss policy recommendations and new initiatives to reduce or eliminate the harm that domestic violence or sexual assault victims may experience in the criminal legal system, particularly survivors from African American communities; and 4) identify new initiatives, frameworks, promising practices, and policy recommendations to create a continuum of options for safety and well-being to better meet survivors' needs. Among the systemic issues that impact victims of domestic violence and sexual assault are homelessness, poverty, and the role of child protective services. The roundtable discussed key gaps in the research on African American women and girls in the criminal legal system and identified areas for future research including identifying the gaps in policy development and impact on African American women survivors and developing culturally appropriate, trauma- and healing-informed responses to African American women into non-criminal justice policies and programs. 

Available free of charge from the Office of Violence Against Women at
Accession Number: