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NCJ Number: 94302 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Evolution of a Stereotype - Paternalism and the Female Inmate
Journal: Prison Journal  Volume:64  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring/Summer 1984)  Pages:37-44
Author(s): J P Sargent
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 6
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: Variations of the legal treatment of male and female offenders are based on a paternalistic attitude adopted through the ages. For the most part, equal treatment of incarcerated women in the future is unlikely.
Abstract: The female's role in society is also reflected in her handling as a correctional client. Paternalistic attitudes toward women date back to Plato's time and were reinforced by the Judeo-Christian ethic. As a result of restrictions on their behavior imposed by men, women became weak, dependent, and helpless. Males also dominated the law and corrections, reinforcing the passivity of women in society at large. Incarcerated women live much as they did 100 years ago. Dozens of rules govern 'wayward' women. These women often suffer the added burden of having to serve their sentences in another State's institution since not enough institutions for women have been built. In 1973, nationwide, there were 32 prisons, less than 1 per State, for the long-term detention of female offenders. The country is shifting toward a more punitive/conservative social climate that discourages equal treatment of female inmates. Along with this trend is the abolition of parole in some areas and other movements to restrict prisoners. As structural barriers that once limited women from entering prison diminish, more will enter the system. If prisons change to reflect the changing social climate, women's treatment in prison may deteriorate even further as women's prisons begin to more closely resemble men's correctional institutions. Yet corrections programs are likely to become more responsive to women's current needs, providing more vocational training as opposed to domestic skills. Female inmates need to understand the history of subtle male domination in corrections, to express their needs, and to negotiate successfully with prison management so that past paternalistic attitudes will give way to an equitable sex-specific concern. Six reference notes and 16 references are included.
Index Term(s): Corrections policies; Female offenders; Female sex roles; Sex discrimination
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