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NCJ Number: 200723 Find in a Library
Title: Alternative Sentencing Necessary for Female Inmates with Children
Journal: Corrections Today  Volume:65  Issue:3  Dated:June 2003  Pages:8-10
Author(s): Jackie Crawford
Date Published: June 2003
Page Count: 3
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the incarceration of female inmates with children.
Abstract: The growth in incarceration rates has been greater for women and minorities since 1980. The incarceration rate among females rose nearly fivefold from 1980 to 1996. Most of the offenses that incarcerated women have committed are nonviolent. The major category that has contributed to the increase in incarceration for women is drug offenses. The second highest category of growth rate of offenses for women and minorities is public order offenses, such as weapons and immigration violations. Offenders that commit property crimes are the candidates most likely to respond to rehabilitation efforts at residences of lesser security and less cost per individual to society. The reason for the increase in incarcerated females is the change in sentencing laws passed by legislatures during the past two decades. Due to these sentencing reform acts, judges seem to be imposing the same standards on men and women by disregarding the greater family responsibilities of women for children in families. This raises serious concern because of implications for the children, their parents, and society as a whole. Children of incarcerated women have their lives disrupted and damaged by the separation from their mothers. When mothers are incarcerated, there is not usually a father in the home. There are fewer women’s prisons so there is a greater risk that female offenders will be incarcerated at a greater distance from their children than males. A number of children of incarcerated parents display symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, feelings of anger and guilt, and flashbacks about the parent’s crimes and arrests. These children also display other negative effects such as school-related difficulties, depression, low self-esteem, aggressive behavior, and general emotional dysfunction. There are gender-specific needs for female offenders such as needs related to children, histories of spousal and child sexual abuse, and job training. Management styles need to differ in order to address female offenders’ behavioral patterns. More comprehensive programs are needed, such as substance abuse, work training, parenting, and work release programs. 8 endnotes
Main Term(s): Children of incarcerated offenders; Female inmates
Index Term(s): Families of inmates; Female offenders; Females; Incarceration; Inmates; Women's correctional institutions
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