Sunday, February 19, 2012

Women Behind Bars

Why are women the fastest growing population in the Criminal Justice System? Here is a YouTube clip of life inside a women's prison. This particular video shows how some women can be violent. But I thought it was interesting and it gave a better understanding of life behind bars.

According to the website: Why Are Women the Fastest Growing Population, "in the last 25 years, women have been the fastest growing prison population in the United States and in California." According to Holly Kernan, "between the ‘70s and the 2000s, the number of female inmates in state prisons serving a sentence of over a year has grown by 757%." This is an astronomical increase in the population of women in prisons! Kernan also stated that “between 1985 and 2007, the number of women in prison increased by nearly double the rate of men." We ask ourselves why? Well, according to Amnesty International, "one out of three women in prison or jail is being held for drug offenses rather than for violent crimes." Many are charged as accessories to crimes committed by men. The minor crimes that carry long prison sentences involve drug conspiracy.

Women in the Criminal Justice System tend to be treated like a man. The prisons were built to house the male population, so as a result women have to adapt to the environment. In some instances women are treated very poorly and unfair. According to Kern, women tend to receive longer prison sentences than their male counterparts. Women tend to be less involved with homicide than men but tend to receive longer sentences, even if done for self defense.

 In interviews with HRW, "women charged that male correctional employees due in fact rape female prisoners and sexually assault and abuse them." Male officers not only threaten and use physical force, but also use their authority to withhold goods and privileges from female prisoners to compel them to have sex. In some instances, women are impregnated as a result of prison employees’ sexual misconduct. These women sometimes face additional abuses in the forms of inappropriate segregation, denial of adequate health care, and pressure to seek an abortion.

I find this particular information to be very sad and scary. I can't believe that the criminal justice system is so screwed up and corrupt. I'm not sure what can be done to stop these particular acts but I think that it is happening more often than publicized!

 This information is interesting to me. If our Criminal Justice System is so overcrowded then why are more women being incarcerated for drug crimes?  I would think that resources and rehabilitation would be best for these particular women due to the majority of these women having children and nonviolent. Also, if women are considered to be non violent offenders why are they being locked up longer than men who are violent? In most cases women inside prisons are being abused. The prison system is meant for men offenders not women.




  1. This is very interesting. I was aware that women in the penal system was steadily increase but i was not aware of the statement of male employees raping female inmates. Im not sure if this is totally accurate. Sure, it may have happened or happens rarely, but I would not make the case that our system is corrupt. The criminal justice system has long been a confusing and misconceived portion of the government but I do not think it is fair to summarize by saying the criminal justice is corrupt. Overall, I liked the article. A topic that definitely needs to be addressed by the legislation.

  2. In an episode of "Law and Order:SVU" I saw this concept of male officers raping prisoners. To read your article on the reality of it was eye opening. I agree with the initial comment on the need for legislation, this is one subject which I would like to see stiff penalties and repercussions for any violators. Granted some may argue that they are bad individuals and criminals anyways, but that does not justify the criminal action of the offender.

  3. Really cool blog, I knew from previous classes how women are fastest population growing in the criminal justice system, but i def learned a few things here. I didn't know that women tend to receive longer sentences than man in the same types of crimes. I would of thought that women would receive less time then men. I totally agree that women should not be recieving such harsh penalties for drugs since our prison system is already overcrowded enough. Rehabilitation should be the first place our resources and focus should go for these drug offenders.

  4. This is very interesting, its sad that women go through so much in prison compared to men. To comment to Miguel post I also saw the Law and Order:SUV espiode and how men had such power over the women to do whatever they wanted, and they got away with it. Its mind blowing to think that is reality. In women prisons there should be more women officers guarding the inmates than males.

  5. It is crazy that women are receiving longer sentences than a male when committing exactly the same crimes. I think they should be getting the same sentence rather than different. Also, it is crazy what women have to go through when they are behind bars compared to the males. I think we need to find a way to rehabilitate these inmates but with little to no funding this is not possible.