Implementing and Sustaining SHARE: An Exposure‐Based Psychotherapy Group for Incarcerated Women Survivors of Sexual Violence [2020]

Although incarcerated women are a highly victimized population, therapy for sexual violence victimization (SVV) sequela is not routinely offered in prison. SHARE is a group therapy for SVV survivors that was successfully implemented and sustained in a women’s correction center. Here, we aimed to identify implementation factors and strategies that led to SHARE’s success and describe incarcerated women’s perspectives on the program. We conducted a retrospective process evaluation using interviews structured according to EPIS, a well‐established implementation science framework. Participants (N = 22) were incarcerated women, members of the SHARE treatment team, and members of the correction center’s leadership, therapeutic team, and volunteer program. Factors that facilitated SHARE implementation varied by EPIS phase and organization. Positive inter‐organizational and interpersonal relationships were key across phases, as were the synergies between both the strengths and needs of each organization involved in implementation. Incarcerated women reported a strong need for SHARE and did not report any concerns about receiving trauma therapy in a carceral setting. Therapy for SVV sequelae, including exposure‐based therapy, is possible to implement and sustain in carceral settings. Community–academic partnerships may be a particularly feasible way to expand access to SVV therapy for incarcerated women.

Highlights
Described implementing a group therapy for survivors of sexual violence within a women’s prison.
Evaluated contextual factors and strategies that led to successful sustainment of the group.
Includes views of incarcerated women, members of the treatment team, and prison leadership.
Found personal and organizational partnerships were key to effecting and sustaining the program.
Incarcerated women noted a need for trauma therapy and felt prison was a suitable setting for it.

Melissa J. Zielinski, M. Kathryn Allison, Lindsey T. Roberts, Marie E. Karlsson, Ana J. Bridges, JoAnn E. Kirchner
American Journal of Community Psychology, 28 September 2020
DOI
Website