How Are Female Inmates Treated in Prison?
Published March 26, 2023
While men account for the great majority of prisoners, there are now over 200 thousand women behind bars in the United States. The majority of female inmates are mothers, and they face unique problems. At some facilities, even necessities like tampons and pads are limited or cost extra. Moreover, women are more susceptible to sexual assault, especially by guards.
To put things into perspective, approximately 5% of the world’s female population resides in the United States, but approximately one-third of all female convicts in the world are here. In addition, the majority of women in prison came from deprived backgrounds, many of whom have faced sexual or physical abuse, alcohol or drug use, and poor health care prior to incarceration.
The majority of women in prison are there for non-violent, property- or drug-related offenses. This means that convicted women frequently serve short sentences, leading to a high turnover rate within women’s prisons.
What Female Inmates Face Behind Bars
Women often differ from men in their reasons for entering prison and their behaviors once inside. Nevertheless, most corrections officers lack the education to recognize these differences.
As previously indicated, women are more likely than men to be jailed for drug and property crimes; in prison, they are also less prone to engage in violent behavior. In addition, females are more likely than males to have serious substance abuse problems and mental health issues and to be the primary caregiver for a child.
Existing laws are also intended to restrict what is commonly known as “cross-gender supervision,” in which men guard women and women guard men. Yet, female inmates make up one-third of the sexual assaults committed by prison staff.
When a jail officer yells an order at a female inmate, especially one with a history of sexual or physical abuse, she may respond defensively. She will occasionally shut down and ignore the officer, or she might shout back. Responses like these can lead to a disciplinary ticket.
Some women are restrained while being taken to a hospital and even during childbirth, making labor and delivery more difficult. Even in jurisdictions with anti-shackling laws, this inhumane practice remains.
Moreover, 80% of women incarcerated are mothers, and the majority are the primary caretakers for their children. Children who suffer the most from their mother’s excessive incarceration, as the children face extreme feelings of trauma and isolation.
Female Inmates Receives More Punishment Than Men
Female inmates were being punished about twice as often as men for all offenses, regardless of their severity. In most cases, however, the violations are minor and nonviolent. They were given tickets for “minor insolence” almost five times as often as men. Maggie Burke, a former warden of Logan Correctional Center, stated that instead of disciplining based on safety and security, they do so based on emotions.
What is It Like as a Female Death Row Inmate?
In addition to the suffering of prolonged solitary confinement and sentences, women sentenced to death are also exposed to rampant sexual abuse and violence.
Surveyed women on death row reported that one out of five had experienced some form of violence or sexual harassment in prison and that three out of ten were observed by guards while they were naked, in the shower, or using the toilet. The experiences of sexual assault that female death row inmates have are comparable to the experiences of other incarcerated women who have not been sentenced to death.
The lack of privacy offered to these women can frequently intensify the past trauma that most of them have experienced, which is often linked with the crimes that sentenced them to death.
Female Inmates Gets It Worse
Put simply, the serious issues female inmates face are being separated from their families; inadequate health care; harassment and sexual abuse; lack of vocational or educational programs; and, most of all, an unsafe prison environment.
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About The Author
Krizzia Paolyn is an SEO Specialist with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. It has always been her passion to share her voice, and at the same time, to encourage other people to speak up.