Saturday, January 15, 2011


Traditionally there are more men than women in prisons and jails. Since 1985, however, the population of female prisoners in the U.S. has increased at double the rate of men. This is due, in part, to the "war on drugs" policies adopted during the later part of the last century.

Despite the increase of women inmates, correctional facilities have not always recognized the gender-specific needs of women. In a recent article by Alyson R. Quinn, "Can't Do It on My Own: When Women Go to Prison," the author describes some of these needs.

  • Women prisoners are more likely to have experienced physical and sexual trauma.
  • Women inmates have more conflict with each other due to poor role models and negative childhood relationships and are, therefore, more difficult to care for in the prison system.
  • Women inmates have a 20 per cent higher rate of mental health problems.
  • Six per cent of women enter prison pregnant.
  • Over half of all women behind bars have minor children.

All of these factors add to the complex nature of caring for women offenders. While many correctional facilities are beginning to develop programing for women, there is still much work to be done. Prison ministries can help to address the needs of women inmates through mentoring programs, Bible studies, 1:1 visits, letter writing, and after-care support.

* * * * *

Visit: The Women of Block 12 for more information.

* * * * *

No comments:

Post a Comment