Incarcerated Women

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Running head: Incarcerated Women

Health Concerns among Incarcerated Women
Application Paper Information
September 1, 2009

Health Concerns among Incarcerated Women
As a result of inadequate access to proper healthcare, rehabilitation and transitional programs upon release, incarcerated women are neglected more than incarcerated men and women of the general population. Despite research showing over the past 20 years the number of women in prison has increased so much that is has outpaced the male prison population, women’s prison healthcare has not improved. Some of the health issues incarcerated women face is abuse in prison, diseases and disorders, and lack of counseling and rehabilitation programs. Research has been conducted on these issues and by letting the general population know more about what’s going on inside these facilities might bring some hope for new laws and changes (Talvi).

Healthcare needs are not being adequately delivered to the women’s prison population. “Despite imprisoned and presumably safe from harm: women in many prisons throughout the United States are victims of sexual abuse by prison staff. At times, such abuse occurs during routine medical examination” (Wheatherhead, 2003, p.430). Exposure to this kind of abuse from correctional officers should be considered cruel and unusual punishment. However, Kendra Weatherhead, author of The Failure to Provide Adequate medical Treatment to female Prisoners in the United States, noted that “because the current standard the courts utilize to determine whether medical treatment is adequate inaccurately accounts for health needs of incarcerated women, many female inmates continue to suffer without a means of legal recourse” (Morton, 2005, p. 92). The effect on these women from this kind of treatment is absurd. Almost all incarcerated females will return to the community. All of these women’s health issues that go untreated while they are incarcerated, whether it is a substance addiction or an infection with a disease, could be transmitted to someone in the general population. All of these issues will still exist when the inmate is released. For example, A prison guard could ask an inmate to show their “tits or masturbate”, while he watches. The inmate then would receive extra food or blankets for her services. “Female prisoners and officers alike have been complaining about sexual abuse by male guards at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Tallahassee since 1995, when the prison started to house female inmates”(Talvi, 2007, p.54).

There are many healthcare concerns among incarcerated women. One of these concerns women have today is psychiatric disorders. Psychiatric disorders are more prevalent among the prison population then it is among general population. Ronald Braithwaite and fellow authors were quoted as saying “If it were not for inmates’ right advocates for example the (Prison Activist Resources Center, The Western Prison Project, the American Civil Legislative Action Coalition on Prison health), Correctional Administrators would feel little pressure to advance the mental health of female inmates” (Braithwaite). Most of the healthcare reform that has taken place is because of lawsuits that resulted in court mandates, for correctional facilities improvements. For example, there was a woman in a Federal prison who developed a pain on the lower left side of her body. She filled out paper work called “Sick Call Request”, and asked to be seen by a nurse. She waited for two months but still received no response. She then began to fill out the request form every day and was then seen a month later. She was diagnosed with a large tumor that had been growing on one of her ovaries. At that point, she was rushed to the nearby hospital for emergency surgery. After surgery, the doctors told her that she would have died in a short order if the tumor was not treated when it was. (Talvi, 2007, p.165). When taking...
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