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Biography

My academic experiences have been a combination of "life-long learning" resulting in six degrees which includes the M.S.W., a Doctorate in Public Policy Analysis (health and mental health policy) and professional development as a social worker. The most recent degree was a Masters in Health Science (addiction studies). I have always delighted in meeting the professional development requirements to sustain the license as a professional social worker. I have been at Lewis University for over thirteen years. I have been chair of the department since I arrived at the university. As the chair, I provided leadership to allow growth in the department's enrollment and an increase in the diversity of students in the major. In the college, my involvement in committee work has provide essential stability and continuity at crucial stages as the university has solidified an identity to the public and its students and, as a result, has experienced increasing growth. Lewis University advocates a community of learners with a focus on quality teaching but also scholarship with a culture of inquiry.

Abstract

This paper addresses the use of drugs but specifically heroin by females. While women’s rate of incarceration in the nation have dramatically increased tripling in the last decade, prisons have not kept pace with the growth of the number of women in prison and the need for drug treatment and recovery for this population. This paper examines one programmatic effort to provide services to this most vulnerable population in the state of Illinois. The continuum of care model is considered in light of the challenges of high recidivism rates, particularly in the state of Illinois. It identifies a need for more effective evidenced –based services at the state level for prison inmates before and after discharge. Effective program evaluation has not been a priority in some states and perhaps Illinois correction is prototypical. More effective intervention may require more community involvement post release for ex-offenders. Barriers to health care, employment and housing are just as evident with female drug offenders as the male population.