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Gender & Trauma: Somatic Interventions for Girls in Juvenile Justice: Implications for Policy and Practice

This report maps the ways in which trauma-informed, gender-responsive, and culturally competent yoga and mindfulness programs can address the short- and long-term impacts of trauma on girls in the juvenile justice system. The first of its kind, this report is based on two pilot programs conducted by the Center on Poverty and Inequality in residential programs for girls in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, as well as an extensive literature review and comprehensive interviews with experts in trauma-informed yoga programs across the country. Drawing from these resources, it seeks to inform policymakers, judges, juvenile justice facility administrators and staff, and others working with system-involved girls about the importance of viewing girls’ trauma through a gendered and an intersectional lens. In addition, this report introduces trauma-informed, gender-responsive yoga as a somatic intervention that can significantly support the diverse mental and physical health needs of system-involved girls. Finally, it highlights key policy considerations and recommendations for those working with girls in the juvenile justice system to develop and scale-up somatic interventions.