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Women in Prison

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Women in Prison
Introduction
The growing rate of women in prison has spawned widespread awareness in our society; leading people to question why the percentage multiplied exponentially over the past three decades. In the past, female offenders have not only been compared to their male counterparts, but to society’s view on the role of women; the roles that labeled them as housewives and mothers. But how did these housewives and mothers go from the home to the prisons? The subject of women’s issues has sporadically been discussed in our society, and it has just recently being uncovered that women operate differently than men in situations; and those differences are now starting to effect the growth rate in the population of women in prisons.

The mission statement of the Federal Bureau of Prisons states that it “…protects society by confining offenders in the controlled environments of prisons and community-based facilities that are safe, humane, and appropriately secure, and which provide work and other self-improvement opportunities to assist offenders in becoming law-abiding citizens.” This mission statement is similar to state prison mission statements written back in the late 1700’s when male offenders were the ones majority of people were referring to since the number of female offenders was insignificant; so insignificant that there was no differential treatment between the two. Now that the number of female offenders has grown exponentially there are not only different treatments between the two genders, but different facilities as well.

The first state prisons were founded in the end of 1700s and back then there was no need for different treatments of facilities for women because of the small population of women offenders in these prisons. Most of them held fewer than 20, if any at all, so there was no need for separate institutions. As time progressed on the population of female offenders in prison grew at a slow rate and in the late 1800s...