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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 148576 Find in a Library
Title: Criminological and Psychiatric Survey of Women Serving a Prison Sentence
Journal: British Journal of Criminology  Volume:34  Issue:2  Dated:(Spring 1994)  Pages:172-191
Author(s): A Maden; M Swinton; J Gunn
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 20
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This paper describes a case-note and interview study of a representative, cross-sectional sample that comprised 25 percent of all women serving a prison sentence in England and Wales to determine psychiatric treatment needs of all those given a diagnosis.
Abstract: The rebuilding of Holloway Prison in the 1970's was based on the assumption that women in prison have high rates of psychiatric disorder. Criticism of Holloway often focused on the unwarranted medicalization of women's criminality and contemporary evidence that provided only limited support for the notion that women inmates have higher levels of psychiatric disorder than men. Interpretation of research findings has been difficult, because none of the studies has applied the same methods to comparable groups of women and men in prison. In the current study, a 5-percent sample of the male sentenced prison population was used for comparison purposes. Findings show that the prevalence of psychosis was approximately 2 percent in both groups. women had a higher prevalence of mental handicap/learning difficulties (6 percent compared to 2 percent in men), personality disorder (18 percent versus 10 percent), neurotic disorders (18 percent versus 10 percent), and substance abuse (26 percent versus 12 percent). Despite higher percentage rates for some disorders, however, men outnumbered the women in all diagnostic categories. Female and male inmates with psychosis share many characteristics that make alternative placement difficult. Since the number of women who require transfer to a hospital is low, they could be accommodated by the health service without any significant increase in beds. Most had a history of rejection by local psychiatric facilities, suggesting that they require a specialized service. While in custody, women make greater demands on prison health services, mainly because of higher rates of personality disorder, substance abuse, and neurosis. The Criminal Justice Act of 1991 may help some of these women by providing a greater range of noncustodial service. There is also a need to increase the availability of treatment services for some inmate groups, particularly those with drug or personality problems. 11 tables and 56 references
Main Term(s): Corrections
Index Term(s): Criminology; Female inmates; Foreign inmates; Inmate characteristics; Male female offender comparisons; Mentally ill offenders
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