Creating safe, effective, and innovative justice systems

CORE provides consultation, training and information to juvenile and adult justice systems and the diverse array of justice system stakeholders. CORE’s work is geared toward:

  1. Supporting existing justice systems and organizations to maximize their health and effectiveness.
  2. Creating more effective policies and practices across sectors that are designed to prevent crime and criminalization.

Justice, Redefined

Our juvenile and adult criminal justice systems are in the midst of significant reform. This reform is tied to concerns about mass incarceration and new insights about the causes and correlates of criminal justice system involvement and the interventions that are needed to support individuals and communities. CORE advocates
10 Critical Steps to Redefine Justice (©Benedict, 2017):

  1. Acknowledge crime and criminalization as a public health problem and prioritize prevention as a critical ingredient of justice work.
  2. Strengthen communities and create the cross sector partnerships needed to enhance social capital, prevent crime, eliminate criminalization and reduce recidivism.
  3. Support corrections professionals and other stakeholders by providing them with adequate training and professional development, maintaining healthy organizational cultures and engaging them as system reformers.
  4. Improve policies and practices for historically neglected groups, including women and girls, people of Color, individuals who identify as LGBTQ, immigrants, refugees and veterans.
  5. Use lessons learned from newer research (e.g., on gender and trauma) to rethink and improve policies and practices with diverse boys and men.
  6. Engage individuals with lived experiences – and their families – in the criminal justice system as co-researchers and co-designers of problems and solutions.
  7. Acknowledge and address the impact of trauma and the power of human resilience in the design and delivery of correctional policies, programs, services and operational practices.
  8. Eliminate correctional policies and practices that criminalize survivorship and replicate trauma, racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism and other forms of oppression.
  9. Evolve and expand our research methods to facilitate more comprehensive analyses of the social and political determinants of crime and criminalization and the ways in which gender, race, ethnicity, class, ability and other identities interact to influence system involvement, experiences and outcomes.
  10. Implement Responsive Practices throughout the continuum of justice interventions and services.

Dynamic Collaborations

CORE engages with various local, state and federal  partners to reimagine and strengthen justice systems.


Gender, Culture and Trauma Responsive Program/Facility Assessment

CORE has been a pioneer in the creation of gender responsive assessment tools and processes that not only measure challenges, but bring program functions/departments together to identify organizational strengths and co-create improvement plans that increase safety and improve outcomes for staff and clients.

The CORE Gender-specific Programing Assessment (CORE GSPA-II). CORE created the CORE GSPA-II for agencies that serve girls. The CORE GSPA-II can be used in community-based, residential, and institutional settings. The assessment process is designed to assess implementation of gender responsive policies and practices in key domains. The assessment process is educational, collaborative and sets the stage for strategic planning and implementation.

The Gender Informed Practices Assessment (GIPA). CORE is a co-author of The Gender Informed Practice Assessment – Facility Version (GIPA). Funded by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), the GIPA provides women’s facilities with a measured assessment of their adherence to sound principles of gender responsive, evidence-based, and trauma-informed policies, programming and practices, from admission to release.

Transforming the Culture of Justice

Creating healthy justice systems and organizations is critical for staff, clients and communities. CORE engages in pioneering work at the state and federal levels to raise awareness about the impact that organizational cultures have on staff and client outcomes and assist agencies in their efforts to create healthy, functional criminal justice programs and facilities.

  • CR/2(Creating Regulation and Resilience). Grounded in cutting-edge research on the neuro-physiology of trauma and resilience, CR/2 translates research on trauma-informed care, evidence-based, and promising interventions into an integrated approach that can enhance outcomes with justice-involved clients. CR/2 was jointly developed by Orbis Partners and Core Associates, LLC.
  • The CORE Gender Responsive Behavior Motivation Model. The CORE Gender Responsive Behavior Motivation Model helps agencies to adopt gender responsive trauma-informed and evidence-based approaches to discipline. It provides administrators and staff with the tools they need to actively build a safe and productive service culture and implement evidence-based methods that motivate client growth and change.
  • The Gender Responsive Discipline and Sanctions Policy Guide for Women’s Facilities. The Gender Responsive Discipline and Sanction Policy Guide for Women’s Facilities assists corrections professionals in revising discipline and sanctions policies and practices with women, and create safer facilities for staff and women alike.
  • Using Trauma-Informed Practices to Enhance Safety and Security in Women’s Correctional Facilities. Funded by the National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women (NRCJIW), the Trauma Brief provides an overview of the research on trauma and outlines how the implementation of trauma-informed policies and practices can enhance safety and improve outcomes for women and staff.
  • Gender Responsive and Trauma-informed Approaches in Jails. Funded by the National Resource Center on Justice-involved Women (NRCJIW), this series of eight Jail Tip Sheets addresses critical topics facing jails and facilitate the implementation of gender-informed approaches with women in jail settings.

Prioritizing Staff Wellness

Corrections and behavioral health professionals who work in the criminal justice and behavioral health programs/facilities face multiple stressors and traumas related to their ongoing contact with clients with complex trauma histories and their daily work in complex, resource limited environments. These experiences may interact with personal traumas and can make it difficult for them to be present to their work and effective in their responses and interventions. CORE works with agencies to intentionally support staff wellness and reduce vicarious trauma and its impacts by assisting them in their efforts to create healthy organizational cultures, make self-care a fundamental part of  organizational practice and provide staff with essential self-care skills and support.

Engaging Individuals and Communities with Lived Experience

CORE promotes the active engagement of individuals and families with lived experience in system reform efforts and seeks partnerships with current and formerly incarcerated women and girls. The following are some organizations that are engaging and elevating the voices and perspectives of individuals who have lived experiences in the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems.