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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 72562 Find in a Library
Title: Women in Prison - Sexism Behind Bars
Journal: Professional Psychology  Issue:2  Dated:(April 1980)  Pages:331-338
Author(s): S B Sobel
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 8
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Women incarcerated in State or Federal prisons are the victims of a sexist correctional system that delivers fewer services and offers fewer opportunities than those available to male prisoners.
Abstract: Mental health professionals have not been as active as they could be in providing the public and policymakers with data to substantiate the negative impact of sex-tracked programs (e.g., programs that offer only secretarial, cosmetological, or nurseaid training) on women prisoners and their families. From inventories, studies, and surveys, some recommendations have surfaced that could decrease the inequalities and negative effects of sexism in prison settings. Women's prisons need to provide adequate health and mental health services, delivered by professionally trained personnel, professionals trained in the use of nonsexist treatment techniques. Development of human services for effective delivery of health and mental health services should be a priority. Prisons for women must develop broadly based educational and vocational programs for their inmates that offer the prisoner the opportunity to explore her work potential in nontraditional and traditional vocations for women. A greater sensitivity to the stresses experienced by women as a result of separation from family and children should lead to the development of programs whose goals are to assist the adjustment of the prisoner and her children to her imprisonment. Development of transitional services for all offenders returning to their communities is of utmost importance. Training programs for service-oriented mental health professionals should include course work and supervised practicum experiences on the unique experiences and problems that characterize the female offender in prison or in jail. Inservice training models should have a goal of increasing staff sensitivity to the special problems of the female prisoner. Examples are cited from all over the U.S., and 29 references are provided. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Female inmates; Inmate Programs; Prisoner's rights; Sex discrimination; Women's rights
Note: Sections of the article were prepared as a working paper for the Special Populations. Subpanel on the Mental Health of Women of the President's Commission on Mental Health, Washington, D C, 1978
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