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NCJ Number: 93320 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Women in County Jails - An Invisible Gender in an Ill-Defined Institution
Journal: Prison Jurnal  Volume:63  Issue:2  Dated:(Autumn/Winter 1983)  Pages:99-115
Author(s): J E Connolly
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study of women in Pennsylvania jails considers the facilities, inmate population size and characteristics, sentences, types of offenses, programming, and staff.
Abstract: The most disturbing aspect of housing for women in Pennsylvania's jails is that only 45 of the 67 counties in the State will accept women prisoners, and half of the 45 will house them only for very short periods of time. Only 22 of the jails house sentenced female offenders. This requires that many women be incarcerated outside their resident counties, which makes family visitation and contact with home community service agencies difficult. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Corrections reports 948 women admitted to serve sentences in county jails in 1982. During the same year, 904 women were reported released. No data are available on the number of female detentioners. This points up the flawed recordkeeping system pertaining to data on women jail inmates. Analysis of the data on the 948 cases provides a limited profile of women offenders. Sixty-four of the women were recidivists, with several having more than two incarcerations within the year. The average age for all female offenders was 29.5, and the majority were white, with 24 percent listing themselves as married. Nearly half the women were sentenced to a minimum-maximum term, with 51 percent given flat sentences, and only five women were sentenced to fines and costs alone. Property crimes and morals offenses are the two major categories of crime for which women are jailed. Disorderly conduct crimes ranked first, morals offenses second, and property crimes third. The length of times served by most women in county institutions was quite low and followed the national norms (30 days). No data is kept on the programs available to women in the jails. The size and physical structure of some jails as well as the attitudes of some administrators prevent women from receiving the same program opportunities as men. The counties that do provide the richest assortment of programs for women are those that have an active network of volunteers in the community. In 1981, Pennsylvania and 1,974 correctional officers for an average daily population of 8,977. This appears to satisfy the Bureau of Corrections' minimum standards of one correctional officer per shift for each 15 inmates. Whether this staffing is sufficient to permit women fuller participation in programs has not been determined. Greater attention should be given to the development of community alternatives to jail for non-dangerous female offenders, and residential facilities should be provided for women in their home communities through treatment centers or halfway houses. Also, comparative data for women and men offenders must be developed as a basis for policy decisions. Tabular data and 26 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Correctional facilities; Female inmates; Inmate Programs; Jails; Offender profiles; Pennsylvania; Sentencing/Sanctions
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