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Approximately 51, of these women were white, 26, were black, and 18, were Hispanic. Unlike men, the majority of women are imprisoned for nonviolent crimes arising from economic need or substance addiction; many of them follow their husbands or boyfriends into criminal activity.
Women convicted of nonviolent crimes receive shorter sentences; thus, the turnover for these populations is greater.
Challenges Facing Women Prisoners Women in prison face different challenges than men. Approximately 75 percent of incarcerated women in the United States suffer from Essay about rehabilitation in prison illness and are more likely to harm themselves or commit suicide than male prisoners.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that almost 10 percent of incarcerated women have reported incidents of sexual assault by other inmates or prison staff. These standards were finalized by the U. Department of Justice in and provide guidelines for available avenues for prisoners to report allegations of sexual assault, as well as guidelines for investigating and responding to these allegations by prison officials.
In addition, many incarcerated women suffer from substance abuse problems and have serious mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, arising from physical or sexual abuse. Some experts have recommended that male prison guards should never be assigned to supervise female prisoners, have physical contact with them, or have access to their living quarters or bathrooms.
This program recognizes the traumas female prisoners have suffered and works to create a safe, supportive environment in which to address their substance abuse and mental health issues. Under some laws, women who are convicted of drug offenses may be denied welfare benefits, public housing, and financial aid for college, creating yet more roadblocks for women released from prison.
Separation of Women From Minor Children In addition to their personal and socioeconomic challenges, three-fourths of the women in prison are mothers of minor children.
The majority of these children are sent to live with other relatives or friends, or are placed in foster homes, while their mothers are incarcerated.
Children of incarcerated mothers may suffer attachment disorders and are more likely than their peers to fall behind in school, become substance abusers, and commit crimes; they are five to six times more likely to end up in prison when they grow up.
Inthe federal Adoption and Safe Families Act was passed, requiring that parental rights be terminated if a parent is absent for 15 months in a month period.
Increasing numbers of women are giving birth in prison. No national standards currently exist for the treatment of pregnant women in the criminal justice system.
Shackling of women prisoners to their hospital beds while giving birth is allowed in 33 states. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Public Health Association condemn this practice, which causes severe pain and is a serious health risk.
Except in extreme circumstances, the Federal Bureau of Prisons prohibits the shackling of pregnant women in federal custody.
Many advocates argue that the best interests of the child must be the primary consideration in determining appropriate treatment of women who give birth in prison. Newborns are often removed after birth and placed with relatives or in foster care.
Nine states are operating or developing prison nursery programs in special housing units. In addition to these important child developmental considerations, mothers who have been involved with prison nursery programs develop stronger motivation for improving their lives and those of their children, and thus have lower rates of recidivism.
Opponents of prison nurseries point out that prisons are not good environments in which to raise children, and argue that women who have broken the law cannot be good mothers and should not be provided the privilege of parenting.
One alternative to separating incarcerated women from their young children is the use of community residential parenting facilities.
These facilities may also offer counseling, substance abuse treatment, parenting classes, vocational training, and other educational services focusing on assisting female inmates to reenter their communities as good parents and responsible, productive citizens.
Children are typically allowed to live with their mothers in residential facilities until they are old enough to attend school. These residential programs are often operated by nonprofit and faith-based organizations that partner or contract with local correctional facilities.
More research needs to be done on the long-term effects of residential and prison nursery programs on participating mothers and their children.
Another program that fosters relationships between incarcerated mothers and their daughters is Girl Scouts Behind Bars.
This program was originally created by the National Institute of Justice and the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland and now includes thousands of girls across the United States. They work together on crafts and other projects, and participate in activities that improve communication and decision-making skills and foster positive habits and personal growth.
After the mothers are released from prison they can continue to participate in scouting activities with their daughters, so that the Girl Scouts organization becomes a positive support system as they transition to life outside of prison.
A related program, Girl Scouting in Detention Centers, involves girls who are detained in juvenile facilities in similar self-development and leadership activities and seeks to create a positive support system for female juvenile offenders.
As the population of women in prison continues to increase, U. Ann and William J.
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