|Women in Corrections|
|By Terry Campbell, Professor, Kaplan University, School of Public Safety|
There are many issues and areas to consider in corrections; improvement in technology, rehabilitation, recidivism, security, proposals for closing prisons and/or opening new prisons, privatization, inmate populations, jails, probation and parole, and the list continues. For 2017 I decided to provide some comments and observations on females incarcerated. I reviewed the Sentencing Project Fact Sheet for Incarcerated Women and Girls. (1980 – 2014: Data Released 2015).
Some of the data and information I provide may be an eye opener for some and, needless to say is interesting. Between the years 1980 and 2014, women incarcerated has grown from 26,378 to 215,332. These numbers reflect a 700% increase of incarcerated women during this time period. As we know, so many of the females incarcerated have numerous issues including entering the system as HIV positive, various mental health issues, physical or sexual abuse women incarcerated with children, drug use, and other. Unfortunately, many of the women incarcerated have one or more of these issues. These alone create safety, security, and treatment concerns.
When we look at imprisonment and compare men and women, we find the imprisonment of females exceeded that of males by 50%. At the end of 2014 the following statistics reflect “Women Under Control of the U. S. Corrections System.” (United States, 2014, Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics).
The criminal justice system has 1.2 million women under supervision. The statistics also reflect the following: “More than 60% of women in state prisons have a child under the age of 18.” (Carson, E.A. (2015). Prisoners in 2014. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics). During the 2004 – 2014 period, the prison population declined for black women by 47%, and the incarceration of white women increased 56%. The incarceration rate for Hispanic women increased 7%.
Next, we can consider the types of offenses committed by women in state prisons. (http://www.bjs.gov/).
A review of Amanda Noblet research: “Women in Prison: A Review of the Current Female Prison System: Future Directions and Alternatives.” Internet Journal of Criminology 2009, http://ww.internetjournaofcriminology.com reflects the following characteristics of women incarcerated:
When we look at girls incarcerated, the data shows 14% of the youth in residential placement are females. Youth Offense Type by Gender reflect the following:
As you see, these offenses for girls also create a set of challenges in supervising offenders as well as programming needs.
Some questions to consider after review of the data provided for women and girls: (This is not conclusive).
Terry Campbell is a criminal justice professor at Kaplan University, School of Public Safety and has more than 20 years of experience in corrections and policing. He has served in various roles, including prison warden and parole administrator, for the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Terry may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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