The Differences Between Men’s and Woman’s Correctional Institution

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Woman’s Prisons

In the United States there are around 4,500 prisons, but only about 170 of those are women’s prisons. Prisons are correctional facilities for criminals in long-term confinement and are usually run by the state. People are sent to serve time in prison after they’ve been convicted of a crime and given a sentence. Women serve their sentences in prisons designed specifically for women, and men serve their sentences in prisons designed for men.

There are fairly large differences between men’s prisons and woman’s prisons. The biggest difference is security level. A prison security level dictates the type and number of safety measures used to keep the public protected from the inmates and the inmates protected from one another.

Women’s prisons are usually less violent than men’s prisons. There aren’t as many violent incidences between inmates and also between inmates and their prison guards. For this reason, female inmates tend to have more freedom. They can usually walk around the prison in order to attend classes or programs, eat in the dining hall, receive visitors, exercise or attend chapel services.

Female Inmates
One of the reasons why woman’s prisons are often not as violent is because there aren’t as many violent offenders. It is more common for female inmates to be serving time for drug or property offenses than their male counterparts. One study revealed that as many as 60% of female inmates have a substance abuse problem, and almost 75% have mental health issues. The same study showed that their crimes were usually a direct result of these issues.

On the other hand, male inmates are more likely to be serving time for violent crimes as oppose to female counterparts. A violent crime is a crime in which the offender uses or threatens to use force against the victim. Violent crimes include murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery and assault.

There are also more men than woman serving time for recidivism, meaning repeated criminal behaviour. For this reason there are more male inmates serving their second sentence or more.

Overall, the majority of prison inmates are in fact male, though the number of female inmates is growing. One study revealed that the number of female inmates has increased by 600% since 1980. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there were nearly 1.5 million men in U.S state and federal prisons in 2011. Around that same time there was about 111,000 women.

In both men’s and women’s prisons, most of the inmates are racial or ethnic minorities and under the age of 40. Specifically examining the characteristics of the female prison population, studies found that the majority had experienced physical or sexual abuse. Most are poor, unskilled and undereducated. Many are single mothers.

Female Prison Services
Due to these reasons, you may believe that classes and rehabilitative programs would be a necessity in women’s prisons. Because most women serve time for drug offenses rather than violent crimes, they tend to serve shorter prison sentences. Rehabilitation assistance would be reasonable, considering the women will be returning to their families and communities. However, most studies show that rehabilitation classes and programs are lacking in women’s prisons.

Programs may not be as frequent in female prisons because women often serve shorter sentences. This means there’s a high turnover rate in the women’s prison population. Prison administrators and government officials may feel that rehabilitation programs aren’t worth the investment for short-term inmates. Some professionals say that there is a lack of funding or inadequate training as reasons why there are fewer rehabilitative prison programs available to female inmates than those available to males.

However, some may feel that female inmates need the programs the most. Besides higher rates of substance abuse, women inmates show higher rates of depression. Female inmates are also more likely to harm themselves than men. This includes attempting suicide. Also noteworthy, approximately 60% have chronic or communicable diseases, such as hepatitis or HIV.

Women also present a unique challenge when it comes to motherhood. Statistics show that one in every 25 female inmates is pregnant when admitted to state prison. Most babies born in prison are immediately separated from their mothers, though some prisons allow the baby to stay with the mother up to 18 months.

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