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Incarceration of Women

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1 Incarceration of Women
Chapter 12 Incarceration of Women

2 Incarceration of Women
Women: Forgotten Offenders Historical Perspective The Incarceration of Women in the United States The Reformatory Movement The Post-World War II Years Women in Prison Characteristics of Women in Prison The Subculture of Women’s Prison Males versus Female Subcultures Issues in the Incarceration on Women Sexual Misconduct Educational and Vocational Programs Medical Services Mothers and Their Children Release to the Community

3 Why women tend to be the “forgotten offenders”
women commit fewer crimes than men female criminality tends to be less serious than male criminality historically, women have tended more often than men to be “excluded” from the justice system, by lenient treatment women constitute a small proportion of the correctional population (6%) popular social attitude tends to put all females in a subservient position

4 Imprisonment of Women in The US

5 Institutionalized “Sexism”: caused by low status of female criminality
women’s prisons are located farther from friends & family, inhibiting visits, especially for the poor women’s prisons lack diverse educational, vocational, and other programs available in men’s prisons women’s prisons lack specialization in treatment and fail to segregate offenders who present special problems or have special needs

6 gender and crime: who’s arrested for what?

7 evolution of women’s prisons
END of reformatory movement “ran its course” by 1935; no new correctional models 1st female-run prison for women Indiana, 1873 run for women, by women Alderson Prison West Virginia, 1927 1st federal prison for women. Mary Belle Harris, warden House of Shelter Detroit, post civil war 1st reformatory for women. run by Zebulon Brockway Women’s Prison Asso. New York, 1844 created to improve treatment of & separate females from male inmates Elizabeth Fry 1st to press for reform in treatment of women & children

8 female prison reform in 1800s guiding principles
separation of women from men provision of differential care for women management of women’s prisons by female staff

9 features distinguishing female from male prisons
women’s prisons shorter sentences smaller less committed to inmate code looser security inmate-staff relations less structured less developed underground economy less physical violence

10 female inmate profiles
predominately Black (46%) or White (36%) between ages of (50%) never married (45%) some high school (46%) or graduated (23%) Similar to characteristics of male inmates

11 female prison subcultures (per Heffernan)
“square” (like ‘gleaning’) situational offender adheres to conventional norms & values “the life” (like ‘jailing’) persistent offenders act in prison as they did on the outside antisocial, stand firm against authority represent about half of female prisoners “cool” (like ‘doing time’) professionals; controlled & manipulative; ‘keep busy, play around, stay out of trouble and get out’

12 “pseudo-families” a distinguishing hallmark of the “subculture” in many women’s prisons (as compared with men’s) women often cope with the stresses of incarceration by bonding together in extended “families” of convenience. different women play the roles of various members of the family, including father, mother, siblings, grandchildren, even cousins

13 key issues in the incarceration of women
educational & vocational training female programs tend to reflect stereotypical “female” occupations women’s programs less ambitious than men’s medical services women have more serious health problems mothers & their children 167,000 American children (2/3 of whom are under 10) have a mother in jail or prison 65% of incarcerated mothers were single caretakers of minor children.

14 official sexual misconduct in prison
number of cases of misconduct by male officers in on increase, with increase in female inmates e.g., Houston Cagle & Susan Smith, 2000 Officers may abuse authority to compel sex by withholding goods and privileges to prisoners or by rewarding them with same 42 states have enacted legislation prohibiting sexual misconduct

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