Limited Resources for Incarcerated Women

Topics: Prison, Health care, Childbirth Pages: 5 (2038 words) Published: February 26, 2014

“The female prison population in the United States continues to grow at an alarming rate. Specifically, from 2000 through 2009, the number of women incarcerated in state or federal prisons rose by 21.6 percent, compared to just a 15.6 percent increase for men” (Ajinkya. 2013. Pg. 1). While most prisons have almost triple the amount of males then they do females, the rising numbers of women being incarcerated causes major problems not just for the women themselves but also for their families and the people that count on them the most. With every female that gets incarcerated comes new issues that correctional facilities have to provide answers for. This paper will discuss not only why women need some of the same but also more resources than incarcerated men, but also what other resources are needed, as well as what risks incarcerated women face.

According to Women’s Health Care Physicians from the College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2012) “Incarcerated women and adolescent females often come from disadvantaged environments and have high rates of chronic illness, substance abuse, and undetected health problems. Most of these females are of reproductive age and are at high risk of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV” (Women’s Heath Care Physicians. 2012. Pg. 1). What comes with more inmates whether male or female is over population, when over population occurs more inmates are put in the small jail cells, which leads to more tension and dangerous situations for everyone. “Women's personal experiences and the positions they have held in society prior to entering corrections impact the health issues they deal with, and thus the health issues the corrections system must address” (Hannaher. 2007. Pg. 166). Family background plays a huge role in the incarceration of women, not only can it affect them negatively it could also have a positive affect (Hannaher. 2007). When it comes to women not only do prisons have to worry about their physical health, prisons may have to worry more about their emotional health. This is where family background comes into play, years before a women is in trouble with the law if she has family members that are incarcerated this may lead to criminal activity. If the family member is their only guardian this will take a huge toll on them emotionally because now they may have to live with another family member or in worse cases be put into the system. Emotionally on a woman this could affect them for years and could potentially lead them to a life of rebellion and criminal activity. When incarcerated these are the women that need attention the most, not only are they emotionally unstable, they pose a threat to others and may even hurt themselves (Hannaher. 2007). According to an article written by Kate Hannaher in Hamline Journal Of Public Law & Policy, (2007) “Fewer women than men are incarcerated because of propensities to, and acts of, violence. The majority of women offenders are arrested for nonviolent drug and property crimes” (Hannaher. 2007. Pg. 169). The majority of incarcerated women come from little to no education as well as poverty-stricken homes; this leads to very little medical care that causes problems in the long run (Hannaher. 2007). When a person who has had little to non existent health care becomes incarcerated this may put pressure on the prisons because now when they have screenings the prison health care officials may find diseases or problems that may have been undetected. As many women are incarcerated for less serious offenses then men, like prostitution and drug use HIV and sexually transmitted diseases become more of a worry for prison health care advisors. Without specific treatment for these diseases it poses a serious health risk for the well being of the incarcerated woman as well as the population of the jail as a whole (Hannaher. 2007). With the incarceration of women rising constantly...

References: Ajinkya, Julie. (2013, 8 March). Rethinking How to Address the Growing Female Prison Population. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from:
Hannaher, Kate. (2007). Caring for Invisible Patients: Challenges and Opportunities in Healthcare for Incarcerated Women. Hamline Journal Of Public Law & Policy, 29(1), 161-209. Retrieved from:
International Committee of the Red Cross. (2009, 27 Feb.). Health in Prisons: Looking after a women in a men’s world. Resource Center. Retrieved from:
Santiago, Kisa. (2013, 03. June). Babies Behind Bars: Motherly Love or abuse? HLNTV. Retrieved from:
Schenwar, Maya. (2010, 12. April). In Prison, Toilet Paper is the New Tampon. Ms. Magazine. Retrieved from:
Villanueva, Chandra. (2009, May). Mothers, Infants and Imprisonment. Institute on Women & Criminal Justice. Retrieved from:
Whitten, Lori. (2013, 19 Sept.). Post-Prison Treatment Reduces Recidivism Among Women With Substance Use Problems. Retrieved from:
Women’s Health Care Physicians. (2012. August). Reproductive Health Care for Incarcerated Women and Adolescent Females. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Retrieved from:
Women’s Health Care Physicians. (2011. Novemeber). Health Care for Pregnant and Postpartum Incarcerated Women and Adolescent Females. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Retrieved from:
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