Major Policy Issues Regarding the Incarceration of Women
The incarceration policies of women have been the subject for debate for quite some time. While the policies may differ in different parts of the country, the one thing that remains the same is the ultimate goal of reformation. Although women only make up a mere 7% of the prison population and 11% of jail populations, the growth rate of incarcerated females to males since 1981 is steadily increasing. Generally, the characteristics of women in prison are similar. Like men, female inmates in state prisons are usually youthful offenders, have little to no education, and are affiliated with minority groups. On the other hand, unlike men, women are more likely to be serving sentences for drug or alcohol abuse and non violent property crimes. According to the Uniform Crime Reports, 22.5 percent of all arrests recorded were the arrests of female offenders.
Statistics show a very distinct pattern in these women's past history. The link between them all is emotion. The majority of these people have had terrible past experiences with people who they are closest with. About 80% of women in prison have reported that they have at one point been abused physically and sexually; including rape, before being incarcerated. Women are twice as likely to commit violent acts towards people who they know and are familiar with, and unfortunately the majority were using self defense to protect themselves or their children from harm. When a female is incarcerated, they loose the right to see their children. Not only do 75% of these women have children, but two-thirds have children under the age of eighteen. All of these things factor into emotional experiences, which make the crimes that women commit very unique.
After being in prison for a short while, an inmate encounters somewhat of a "culture shock". With no husbands/lovers, no children, no freedom, these women are forced to adapt to their surroundings for the...