Examining The Rise Of Women In Prison Criminology Essay

In 1986 Congress passed compulsory minimal sentencing. Federal compulsory drug sentences takes the determination off from the justice and gives sentences based on: 1. the type of drug, 2. the weight or alleged weight of the drug mixture and 3. the figure of anterior strong beliefs. The rise of adult females in prison seems to be correlated with US drug Torahs and policies. Many research workers argue that the war on drugs has straight become a war on adult females. In 1999, the Bureau of Justice Statistics documented that 1 in 3 adult females were likely serving clip for a drug discourtesy in comparing to 1 in 8 adult females in 1986. Three grounds frequently determine the engagement of adult females in the condemnable justness system, the first would be a history of maltreatment, the 2nd issue is disrupted household and personal relationships and eventually the 3rd is drug maltreatment. Womans that end up in prison have normally been abused and/or battered, are economically disadvantaged, have abused drugs, and/or are minorities. Due to the fortunes merely mentioned and rigorous policies and Torahs sing drugs the result is a drastic rise in the captivity of adult females. If adult females are seen as victims of circumstance so they are fundamentally accommodating to the conditions of their lives and fighting to last. The position of adult females in prison reflects their position in society, they are marginalized by racism and sexism. Womans in prison have been damaged by the subjugation of patriarchate, economic marginalisation and the far-reaching effects of such short sighted and damaging policies as the war on drugs and the complete trust on captivity, ( Owen, 2000 ) .

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Female Wrongdoers

Womans have become the new wrongdoer in the condemnable justness system. Through the old ages the sum of adult females incarcerated has greatly risen. In 2000, there were more than 1 million adult females in the United States in prison, probation or word, whereas in 1990 there were 600,000 in the same state of affairs. The rise in the captivity of adult females can be greatly attributed to US policies and Torahs on drugs and drug related offenses. Womans are normally minimally involved in drug offenses but are badly punished due to the compulsory minimal Torahs in topographic point. The war on drugs does non hold Torahs laid out specifically for work forces and adult females, the Torahs are cosmopolitan and use every bit to both work forces and adult females. Drug Torahs were originally designed for the male condemnable and did non take into history the particular fortunes in adult females ‘s lives. These adult females that are being punished under the mandaoey minimal drug Torahs are the married womans, female parents, girls, sisers, nieces, granddaughters and girlfriends of many jurisprudence staying citizens in society. These adult females become involved in drug offenses because of their dependance to their important other, whether it is financially, because of fright or other palliating circumstance. Womans who become victims of compulsory minimal Torahs are incarcerated and capable to patriarchal sentences because the work forces in their lives coerced, obliged or scammed them into transporting drugs.

Womans in gaols and prisons are frequently oppressed and even victimized. There are many race and gender inequalities in the condemnable justness system when it come to turn toing adult females and their demands. Women wrongdoers are more likely to be incarcerated now than they were at any other clip in the history of the United States. The legal system has become more willing to prosecute and imprison adult females than at any other clip in the history of the United States.

Compulsory minimal sentencing policies for drug related discourtesies have increased the figure of adult females incarcerated. Harmonizing to the Sentencing Project, between 1986 and 1991 the population in province prisons for drug discourtesies increased by 828 per centum for Afro-american adult female, 328 per centum for Latinas, and 241 per centum for white adult females ( Mauer & A ; Huling, 1995 ) .

Guilt by Association

Drug Torahs now in topographic point punish non merely the persons who sell the drugs, but besides people who assist the drug trader every bit good as people who simply know the drug trader. Womans are apprehended at higher rates in mention to the war on drugs. In many fortunes adult females are arrested and sentenced simply for staying with a important other who is involved in the drug trade industry. Womans are more vulnerable than work forces for prosecution based on their associations instead than on their behaviour. Womans who are involved in the drug trade are frequently nominally involved and frequently merely take part in the drug trade in order to be able to financially back up their ain drug wont. Some adult females are bullied into the drug trade because of maltreatment or due to fiscal instability.

“ These compulsory minimal sentences are possibly a good illustration of the jurisprudence of unintended effects. There is a respectable organic structure of sentiment which believes that these compulsory lower limits impose unduly rough penalty for firs-time wrongdoers – peculiarly for “ mules ” who played merely a minor function in a drug distribution strategy. Be that as it may, the mandatary lower limits have besides led to an excessive addition in the federal prison population and will necessitate immense outgos to construct new prison spaceaˆ¦

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, U.S. Supreme Court

Compulsory minimal sentences take the discretion of the justice, hence non leting a justice to take into history extenuating fortunes that could cut down the abrasiveness of the sentence. Mandatory minimal sentences require that low degree wrongdoers receive the needed sentence required by legislative acts. Womans can seldom help in supplying prosecuting officers with information that could help in decreasing their penalty because they are frequently mules, transporters and low degree wrongdoers and do no hold entree to valuable information needed by the prosecution. Besides, many times adult females choose non to supply what small information they do hold because of the safety of their household and kids. Due to the compulsory minimal Torahs and the sum of information that adult females are able to supply they are frequently capable to harsher penalties than their male opposite numbers, who are frequently “ top bananas ” .

Womans who are sent to gaol are frequently the primary health professionals for their kids and other household members. Children depend on their female parents and when they become incarcerated the kids are left improperly attended or in unstable impermanent agreements. Due to a female parent ‘s preoccupation with her kids, adult females frequently wish to rush up their instance by come ining a supplication of guilt in order to have a lesser charge and remain out of prison or cut down her sentence.

Compulsory Minimum Laws and Their Effect on Women

Prisons are filled with force hence ensnaring adult females in a universe of inhuman treatment and maltreatment that does non win in turn toing the demands of adult females, such as their psychological, medical or economic demands. The kineticss that were merely referenced are what originally contribute to a adult female ‘s engagement in the condemnable justness system, these kineticss are what originally created adult females ‘s engagement with drugs. When a adult female enters prison she is frequently times abused and revictimized hence farther damaging a adult female.

In prison adult females are frequently physically or sexually abused. When a adult female is in prison she is unable to have proper medical intervention. Research has noted that adult females in prison are subjected to physical, sexual, verbal and emotional maltreatment by guards and other inmates. Amnesty International ‘s 1999 study, “ Not Part of My Sentence ” – Misdemeanors of the Human Rights of Women in Custody, indicates that males staff, under the pretense of correctional supervising, often watch adult females as they shower, use the bathroom, and frock and undress in their cells. Womans are frequently sexually extorted while in prison for basic mundane necessities such as toothbrushes, soap, etc.

A adult female who is abused in prison suffers many effects particularly if she was abused in the yesteryear or suffers from any mental unwellness including but non limited to depression, bipolar upset or if she is retrieving from a drug dependence. Just like any adult female who is abused, a adult female who is abused in prison is left with terrible imbedded psychological cicatrixs. Often adult females who are abused in prison are more severly scared than other adult females, some of the psychological cicatrixs that adult females who are abused in prison are left with are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape Trauma Syndrome, prevailing frights, incubuss and flashbacks, these cicatrixs can take to hatred towards ego, anxiousness, depression, self-destruction and substance maltreatment. Womans who are sexually assaulted while in prison are capable to sexually familial diseases and/or gestation which they might non acquire medical intervention or antenatal attention for.

Both male and female prisons provide hapless health care for its inmates. Womans have higher rates of medical issues than work forces. Womans in prison receive hapless medical intervention and do non have needful medicines for medical conditions such as bosom conditions, depression, other mental wellness diseases, asthma and other medical conditions. Womans frequently have to have permission from guards to seek medical attending. Prisons do non hold a full medical staff therefore lending to the deficiency of medical intervention available to adult females.

Womans who enter the prison system on drug charges are frequently diagnosed with depression every bit good as drug dependence. Some of these adult females are besides diagnosed with bipolar, schizophrenic disorder and other mental wellness conditions which are non decently treated in prison. Prisons are non equipped to decently care for adult females ‘s mental wellness conditions and do non hold the financess to supply needed guidance services. Womans that are prescribed psychotropic drugs are frequently non given the medicines right and alternatively they are given the medicines as depressants. Incarcerated adult females that are separated from their kids suffer a great trade of injury, these adult females frequently become down. Womans whose mental wellness conditions are exacerbated due to captivity and have a past history of drug maltreatment may turn to drug usage while in prison in order to ease the emotional hurting.

Children Affected

Many of the adult females in today ‘s prison system have minor kids. From 1991 through 1999, 98 per centum of kids in the United States had a female parent who was imprisoned, ( Bureau of Justice Statistics ) . It is estimated that most adult females in prison have two kids and anterior to incarceration the kids resided with their female parent. When adult females are sent to prison, kids are frequently placed with other household members or in surrogate attention. In footings of the War on Drugs, kids are removed from the female parent due to captivity or because of a female parent ‘s dependence. If a adult female is sent to a residential intervention plan instead than to prison she is still separated from her kids. Some residential drug intervention plans do non let kids to see and some have age limitations. Although each kid will respond unambiguously to extended separation from his or her female parent, research workers report that when a female parent and kid are separated due to captivity, the kid frequently grieves as if the female parent has died, sing a heartache that is alone to kids with incarcerated parents, ( Bloom & A ; Steinhardt, 1993 ) . Children with an incarcerated female parent tend to endure from fright, anxiousness, heartache and unhappiness and subsequently in life these symptoms can take to withdrawal every bit good as verbal or physical aggression. Many of the kids whose female parents are in prison are sent to further places where they have an increased likeliness of being physically, sexually and emotionally abused.

When a female parent is incarcerated her twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours interactions with her kids are altered and significantly changed. Correctional installations do non help adult females in holding relationships with their kids and frequently due to the distance of the prison it is frequently times impossible for kids to see their female parents. Visiting a parent in prison is really hard for kids and sing a female parent in prison can be emotionally damaging to kids. Telephone calls from female parents to kids while in prison can be really dearly-won therefore cut downing the likeliness that a kid will be able to talk to the parent via telephone.

Few prisons offer household reunion plans for kids. Incarcerated female parents and their kids are non provided with guidance, rearing categories, accomplishments preparation, nightlong plans for female parents and kids and other indispensable services, hence impeding the relationship between a female parent and her kids. Establishing these plans in prisons would give adult females the chance to carry through their functions as female parents and larn how to decently care for and raise their kids.

As more adult females are incarcerated due to Drug Laws the destiny of kids prevarications in the custodies of the public assistance system. The kid public assistance system is non equipped to cover with the lifting figure of kids left without a female parent due to the increasing sum of adult females incarcerated because of compulsory minimal Torahs. Mothers convicted of drug offenses are dually punished, they are punished by the judicial system and they are besides punished by the public assistance system who removes their kids from their attention and detention.

The Result of the War on Drugs

Minimal compulsory drug Torahs are destructing the lives of adult females. These Torahs are destructing households and kids ‘s lives. Harsh penalty does non turn to the issues doing adult females to utilize drugs, to go addicted to drugs, to sell drugs, or to stay in opprobrious relationships with drug traders. Many of the adult females arrested for drug charges are black adult females or hapless adult females. Many of the drug related offenses that adult females are arrested for could be dealt with exterior of the judicial system. The judicial system does non turn to the grounds why a adult female becomes involved with drugs or why she risks her household in making such. Drug dependent adult females should be treated instead than incarcerated. Imprisoning a adult female who is dependent on drugs increases her opportunities of get worsing therefore at the same clip increasing the likeliness for mental wellness conditions such as depression and anxiousness. Womans that become involved in the drug trade industry because of coercion or maltreatment are punished for non turning in their spouse, the person who is physically or emotionally mistreating them. The judicial system does non turn to the demands of kids who lose their female parent ‘s to prison nor does it help adult females in constructing a relationship with their kids. A adult female ‘s captivity can take to lasting loss of her kids and can forestall her from acquiring any authorities aid upon her release.

Alternatively of imprisoning adult females because of the compulsory minimal drug Torahs, we should supply them with the necessary tools they need to help them. Within a adult female ‘s community there are many resources that can help her in go forthing an opprobrious relationship. A community besides has resources to help adult females in with drug dependence issues. Womans need to be empowered to go successful and productive members of society. These adult females instead than being punished demand to be provided with chances to break their lives and with the proper tools to be better parents.

A Recommendation

As a society instead than puting money in prisons, we need to put money in community resources that will help adult females with drug intervention and deciding the implicit in grounds that led them to drug dependance.


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