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Measuring the Wrong Things: Incarcerated Girls Are Not ‘Statistically Insignificant’
By May 22, 2019|
Stoneleigh Senior Program Officer Marie Williams reviews the reasons why providing gender-responsive programming to incarcerated women and girls is worth the cost.
Last month the Stoneleigh Foundation and the Maternity Care Coalition held a policy forum intended to highlight the extent to which the U.S. overincarceration crisis is defined in terms of boys and men, often giving short shrift to the plight of justice-involved girls and women. The plenary sessions and workshops challenged attendees to think about how practice and policy might be altered to better serve women and girls.
One of the issues raised, but still not fully addressed at this forum, nor frankly in many conversations about gender and justice, is how to tackle the troubling issue of so-called statistical insignificance.
In research parlance, statistical significance refers to a result that is not likely to occur randomly but rather is likely to be attributable to a specific cause. This term of art has been adopted or co-opted by human service practitioners and policymakers in some circles to make an odious argument about justice-involved girls and women.