Women’s Need for Gender Specific Rights in Prison
Since the foundation of modern prison systems in North America, prisons have always been specifically tailored to run and deal only with male needs. Due to that women were just thrown in with them creating co-ed jails, and not being properly taken care of. This only slowly started to change in 1873 with the opening of the first women’s only prison in Indiana, USA.(IDOC) Since it was adapted from the men’s prison no specific gender laws were enforced and therefor would be run the same as male prisons for many years without inquiry. It was not until women started to protest and began receiving rights over the 19th and 20th century that the gender specific laws in jails became significant in modern society. Different groups through the world have made efforts to instate written laws that differ from the initial male oriented foundation of the incarceration system. An example of this can be shown in 1995, when the ‘WHO’ European health center which proposed a set of rules to protect health in women’s prisons’(World Health Organization) Such rules were said to be instated in 2007 but still are not fully enforced due to the flaws of this system. With women only making up nine percent of all inmates in Canada; the lack of population results in enforcement to small provincial prisons.(WHO) These institutions are few and far away from many of the women’s homes. Also, the provincial prisons do not have the same upkeep as larger women only prisons, therefor this can lead to many negative results and experiences. The ignorance of female specific needs in prisons allow for failures in basic human rights creating unsanitary conditions, improper pregnancy protocol and cycles of sexual abuse. Not only do pregnant women not get basic medical care but also have to deal with symptoms of post-traumatic stress due to the treatment they suffer in the prisons. Being a regular prisoner you undergo strip-and-cavity searches, handcuffs...
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