Critical Analysis of Women Behind Bars Essay

More and more women-mothers. grandmas. married womans. girls. and sisters are making difficult prison clip all across the United States. Many of them are confronting the chance of old ages. decennaries. even lifetimes behind bars. Curiously. there’s been small public treatment about the dramatic addition of adult females in the prison system. What precisely is go oning here. and why? This paper will be a critical analysis of the book. “Women Behind Parallel barss: The Crisis of Women in the U. S. Prison System. This paper will

Introduction

Journalist Silja Talvi’s Women Behind Bars: The Crisis of Women in The U. S Prison System is an overview of issues impacting incarcerated adult females. The end of the book Women Behind Bars is to increase the consciousness about the turning population of adult females captives. Women Behind Bars presents a figure of of import issues sing adult females captives. Incarcerated women’s narratives represent a distillment of the larger forces that affect free adult females like racism. sexism and economic force per unit area.

For these grounds. Silja Talvi explains. “incarcerated adult females should non be forgotten. despite the stigma of their condemnable strong beliefs and their physical remotion from the community” ( Talvi. 2007 ) . Additionally. though incarcerated adult females may be locked up. they should non be overlooked. Women Behind Bars compactly illustrates some of the of import connexions affecting the War on Drugs. racial disparity. medical disregard: physically and psychologically. and the high rate of substance maltreatment and physical and sexual maltreatment among incarcerated adult females. Silja Talvi’s purpose is to “shed visible radiation on what has contributed to this historic phenomenon of the mass captivity of adult females in the United States” ( Talvi. 2007 ) .

This paper will give background on how Silja J. A. Talvi researched the addition of female captivity. This paper will besides give penetration environing the jobs of the adult females. who Silja J. A. Talvi interviewed. faced while incarcerated. Additionally. outside resources refering to the issue of adult females in prison will be mentioned throughout this paper.

Finally. an informed sentiment based on the aggregation of outside information and what was learned from the book will be presented. Silja J. A. Talvi bases her history on interviews with adult females captives. Silja J. A. Talvi had in-person and phone interviews with approximately one hundred adult females captives over a two twelvemonth span. She besides received letters from about three hundred adult females behind bars. In add-on. she interviewed more than a twelve adult females who has been releases form gaol or prison. Silja J. A. Talvi stayed in regular contact with 50 adult females locked up in province and federal prisons in 17 provinces.

In add-on. Silja Talvi visited he women’s county gaols in Los Angeles and San Francisco. every bit good as the Seattle/King County detainment installation for juveniles. Silja Talvi besides spent a just sum of clip speaking with and larning from low-income adult females on Seattle streets who were willing to speak about their brushs with jurisprudence enforcement and captivity. Internationally. Silja Talvi was besides granted permission to see three women’s prisons. including the European Union’s biggest women’s prison. Holloway. in London. England ; the exclusive female prison on Hameenlinna. Finland ; and a provincial Canadian prison in British Columbia.

Silja Talvi focuses on these adult females because she believes “that incarcerated females are the most misunderstood population in the huge U. S. captivity system” ( Talvi. 2007 ) . These histories from the adult females interviewed will further the penetration on the worlds of female captivity. Further on this subject of captivity. the writer. Silja J. A. Talvi has stated that the United States has more people in prison than any other state. “By mid-2006. the entire figure of adult females and work forces in prison rose to over 2. 24 million. stand foring a important addition from earlier year” ( Harrison & A ; Beck. 2006 ) .

Relatively talking. more than one 1000 captives are added to the prison and gaol system every individual hebdomad ( Harrison & A ; Beck. 2006 ) . Meanwhile. “the figure of incarcerated grownup adult females has jumped by a flooring 757 % since 1977. at about twice the rate of male prisoners” ( Harrison & A ; Beck. 2006 ) . “The figure of adult females in prisons and gaols has reached a milepost. ” explains Kara Gotsch. manager of protagonism for the Sentencing undertaking in Washington. DC.

One of the chief grounds why adult females are being locked up at an dismaying rate is a consequence of a policy of mass captivity. “Mass captivity is a rate of captivity so high that it affects non merely the single wrongdoer. but besides whole societal groups. ” ( American Academy of Arts & A ; Sciences. 2011 ) Prosecuting farther. another chief ground of the addition of captivity of adult females are the condemning policies brought approximately by the “war on drugs. ” “At the Federal degree. captives incarcerated on a drug charge comprise half of the prison population. while the figure of drug wrongdoers in province prisons has increased thirteen-fold since 1980.

Most of these people are non high-ranking histrions in the drug trade. and most have no anterior felon record for a violent discourtesy. ” ( sentencingpolicy. org ) Harmonizing to an extract in the Journal of Criminology. adult females are more likely to function clip for drug-related discourtesies and are less likely to function clip for violent discourtesies. ( Lalonde & A ; Cho. 2008 ) In add-on. with the transition of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act. adult females began to be arrested and charged with impunity. and were threatened progressively with confederacy charges if they didn’t hook on their hubbies. fellows. household member and familiarities. Womans were interrogated and threatened if they did non collaborate and these adult females would confront serious reverberations.

( Talvi. 2007 ) Many of the adult females that in province or federal prisons are first-time. non violent wrongdoers sentenced on drug confederacy charges. These adult females are functioning far longer sentences than most first-time wrongdoer rapers. kid molesters. or even murdered convicted of 2nd degree slaying or aggravated manslaughter. Furthermore. to a far greater degree than work forces. adult females come into the system with histories of sexual. physical maltreatment. domestic force. colza. and mental unwellness.

In this sense it is believed that our state is in crisis. Undoubtedly. because there are so many adult females locked up. there are a overplus of jobs that incarcerated adult females face on a day-to-day footing while in prison. Some of these jobs include sexual assault and misconduct. medical disregard. lacking mental wellness intervention. and besides favoritism based on gender. race and sexual orientation.

Experiences of utmost force and sexual maltreatment in women’s prisons are far worse and far excessively common than most American’s realize. In the United States. sexual assault by guards in women’s prisons is so ill-famed and widespread that it has been described as “an institutionalised constituent of penalty behind prison walls” ( Davis. 1998 ) . “Today it is estimated that at least 40 % of guards in women’s prisons are work forces. In some female prisons. the bulk of employees are work forces. ”

( Talvi. 2007 ) In these sorts of scenes. there are misdemeanors of women’s privateness. every bit good as ocular and verbal maltreatment by the male guards. Today. “one in four adult females studies holding been sexually abused while being in gaol or prison” ( Talvi. 2007 ) . In add-on to studies of violent restraint and penalty ensuing in scratchs. cuts. contusions and even broken castanetss. adult females stated that they were subjected to mortifying strip hunts and verbal torment. Talvi explains that most of the adult females she interviewed in these prisons are in fright to even state anything about their maltreatment because of the likelihood to confront the wrath of prison guards.

The prison guards will cut trial and phone privileges. take away prized ownerships. and endanger these adult females and their households with bodily injury. On another note. Harmonizing to Kim Shayo Buchanan. in an article called. “Beyond Modesty: Privacy in Prison and The Hazard Of Sexual Abuse” fundamentally explains. if adult females are being victimized by male guards in prison. it does them no injury to expose the job by stating so. It is pointed out that black adult females are frequently discouraged from talking out about sexual maltreatment because of concerns that. by talking out about sexual torment by black work forces. black adult females “will reenforce negative racial stereotypes about Blacks in general and about Black work forces in peculiar. ”

( Buchanan. 2005 ) Furthermore. uneffective formal processs. statute law and coverage capacity within the United States prison system history for much of the on-going sexual maltreatment of adult females. In several cases. guards who were disciplined for the maltreatment of adult females were reprimanded to the minimal grade. The frequence of sexual torment and maltreatment in a prison environment is a changeless reminder of how small power the adult females have over their lives once they are sentenced to make clip.

The sexually intrusive or opprobrious nature of these experiences in prison has a annihilating impact on a women’s likeliness of accomplishing a healthy and successful reentry in society.

When adult females leave gaol or prison. with even more traumatic experiences heaped upon their life experiences. these adult females might digest low self-esteem issues. shame and fury. Within the book. Silja Talvi explains. “that these adult females who do re-enter into society. manifest any figure of serious jobs: go oning mental and/or physical unwellness the likeliness of an break of their intervention and medical specialties ; loss of detention of their kids ; limited instruction or calling chances ; a deficiency of safe or stable lodging ; and the enticements to indulge in drug usage or condemnable activity. ” If these factors are in topographic point. it is believed that these adult females will happen themselves back in the prison system intertwined in a barbarous rhythm.

Second. a job that is besides blighting women’s prisons is medical disregard and sloppiness. While medical attention for all captives is hapless. the state of affairs is far worse for adult females captives. Because prison wellness attention systems were created for work forces. routine gynaecological attention. such as pap vilifications. chest test and mammograms. is highly rare in prisons. ( Talvi. 2007 ) Care is often merely administered one time the state of affairs becomes an exigency. In add-on. adult females are denied indispensable medical resources and interventions. particularly during times of gestation and/or chronic and degenerative diseases.

There is besides failure to mention earnestly sick inmates for intervention and holds in intervention. cutbacks in budgets. deficiency of qualified forces. unequal supplies. and usage of non-medical staff. charges for medical attending. unequal generative wellness attention. and deficiency of intervention for substance maltreatment. In the same sense. a factor that magnifies the badness of physical unwellnesss and disease is a alimentary hapless. high fat diet. Fruits and veggies are about non-existent in prisons. Relatively talking. “the extended overcrowding in some of these prisons lends itself to a concentration of mental and medical wellness jobs that the prison system was ne’er designed to handle” ( Talvi. 2007 ) .

Third. lacking mental wellness intervention is a serious issue when covering with the captivity of females. “48-88 % of adult females inmates experienced sexual or physical maltreatment before coming to prison. and endure post-traumatic emphasis upset. Very few prison systems provide reding. Womans trying to entree mental wellness services are routinely given medicine without chance to undergo psychotherapeutic intervention. ” ( Amnesty International. 2011 )

The overexploitation of gaols and prisons to handle mental unwellness in society is debatable itself. Many of these adult females would be better served by intensive intervention plans and community based attention instead than being thrown in prisons. The environment of prison can do an inmate’s mental wellness worse. non better. “Most prison systems lack intervention scenes and plans for these captives.

For case. most province prisons. refused entree to a psychiatric inmate unit if inmates have a record of violent episodes” writes Kupers in Prison Madness. “they tend to weave up in ace maximal parturiency. where the rough conditions and forced idling worsen their mental upsets. followed by more riotous behaviours on their portion and even longer footings in lockup. ” ( Kupers. 1999 ) A bulk of the corrections employees are non trained in any extent in psychological science or societal work. and are most by and large uneducated about the common symptoms of assorted psychiatric upsets and provinces of emotional hurt. In these prisons that Talvi had visited she felt that there is high degree of ignorance and straight-out ill will toward the mentally sick.

The separation between mental wellness and disciplinary is missing in many of the prisons. In a book called Prison Madness. Terry Kupers. an expert in psychiatric issues in prison criticizes this issue of mental unwellness intervention within prisons. “When behaviours on the portion of mentally disordered prisoners-including self-destruction efforts. self-mutilation. regulation interrupting. and even some minor violent incidents-are secondary to their mental upset. they should non be handled wholly as disciplinary misdemeanors necessitating penalty.

Excessively frequently. riotous Acts of the Apostless are simply punished and the possibility that they reflect an at hand psychotic episode or a demand for immediate psychiatric attending is ne’er even considered. ” ( Kupers. 1999 ) In visible radiation of the issue environing the intervention of the mentally sick captives. self-destruction rates within in these prisons are at an addition. An research worker appointed by U. S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton took a expression into the mental health care in the province prison system. and to happen out a ground behind the addition in self-destructions.

It was found that captives in overcrowded and short-handed Administrative Segregation units are killing themselves in unprecedented Numberss. Restricting a self-destructive inmate to their cell for 24 hours a twenty-four hours merely enhances isolation and anti- curative. ( Talvi. 2007 ) In add-on to insufficient substance maltreatment and mental wellness services. educational and vocational plans are besides in short supply. Several surveies ( Pollock-Byrne. Morash. Haarr. and Rucker ) found that female prisons offered fewer vocational and education plan chances when compared to those offered in male establishments.

Educational plan chances could assist successful incorporate these incarcerated adult females back into the community. Last. favoritism based on gender. race and sexual orientation is a important affair of contention in women’s prisons. The growing in captivity has had its greatest impact on minorities. peculiarly African Americans. “Over a five-year period. the captivity rate of African American adult females increased by 828 % . ” ( NAACP LDF Equal Justice. 1998. ) Besides. harmonizing to Amnesty U. S. A. the racial disparity revealed by the cleft v. pulverization cocaine sentences insures that more African American adult females will set down in prison. Although 2/3 of cleft users are white or Latino. suspects convicted of cleft cocaine ownership were 84. 5 % African American.

Crack is the lone drug that carries a compulsory prison sentence for first clip ownership in the federal system. ( prisonpolicy. org ) Women are most vulnerable to different signifiers of favoritism. including sexual torment or maltreatment. Womans that do non suit the norm. such as tribades. face increased hazard of anguish and maltreatment. Many of the captives Silja Talvi had interviewed expressed their heartache about ever acquiring taunted because of their sexual orientation.

The issues confronting tribades and bisexuals in the condemnable justness system aren’t merely limited to what goes on behind bars. One survey conducted by Victor Streib. a professor of jurisprudence at Cleveland State University points to the possibility that lesbians. or adult females who do non look to look feminine. may be victims of harsher condemning. In add-on. sapphic or non feminine adult females who had entered the prison system may really good hold less if a shooting at an early release. ( Streib. 2002 )

Human Rights Watch has documented classs of adult females who are likely marks for sexual maltreatment. Perceived or existent sexual orientation is one of four classs that make a female captive a more likely mark for sexual maltreatment. every bit good as a mark for revenge when she reports that maltreatment. ( HRW. 2010 ) These issues confronting these adult females in the condemnable justness system are non merely limited to what goes on behind bars. In decision. based on the information provided from Women Behind Bars and many outside resources. the captivity of adult females is at an all clip high. Most likely. the figure of incarcerated adult females will increase in the approaching old ages unless the job of mass captivity is solved for good.

I feel every bit that as a consequence of drug Torahs. adult females are now a fast turning section of the U. S. prison population. It is my belief that adult females are peculiarly vulnerable to such policies as compulsory lower limits. because they are more likely than work forces to be incarcerated for drug-related or junior-grade. non-violent belongings offenses. It is these apprehensions that are driving their high rates of captivity.

The job of adult females in prison is straight tied to current US drug policy. For the last 10 old ages. research workers have argued that the war on drugs has become a war on adult females ( Belknap. 2002 ; Bloom & A ; Chesney-Lind. 2000 ; Owen. 2000 & A ; 1998. Cheney-Lind. 1997 ) . In my sentiment. one of several dismaying statistics is. The Bureau of Prisons studies that about 80 % of their female population is incarcerated for drug-related discourtesies. Relatively talking. I think factors of poorness. psychosocial jobs. mental unwellness. histories of injury and maltreatment. and engagement in opprobrious relationships can take up to a life of condemnable behaviour in adult females.

Furthermore. based on information. statistics. and narratives provided from the book Women Behind Bars and besides from outside resources. it is my decision to state that many things could be altered within the prison system. First of all. I believe there are merely far excessively many adult females in prison for adequate people to be drawn to the hard occupation of guarding and rehabilitating these adult females and turn toing their demands. With the information that has been researched. women’s prisons are ill equipped to cover with the scope of issues and demands of an ever-increasing female population. One of the things that struck me when reading the book is the grade to which gaols and prisons have become America’s new mental wellness installations.

Besides in respects of the issue of incarcerated mentally sick. I believe that basic instruction could be provided to correctional staff. Furthermore. guards could be taught to quiet and speak the unsafe mentally sick adult females down from tantrums of paranoia. anxiousness. or hurt. Besides. many of these adult females would be better served by intensive intervention plans and community-based transitional attention. alternatively of merely being thrown into the prison system. Furthermore. I feel that the utmost maltreatment of adult females in prison is a serious job.

I believe this action besides harms society because it decreases the legitimacy of the justness system. If society can non swear those responsible for guarding our prisons to act decently. there is small hope for the rehabilitation of adult females in prison. Personally. I feel the prison has a topographic point. but it is non in the persecution of non-violent females. I think there can be a batch more rehabilitation for these adult females. Many of these adult females in prison have emotional and psychological issues and because of the maltreatment. favoritism. and medical disregard. it is merely traveling to do affairs far worse. An extract from Silja Talvi’s Women Behind Bars that I found capturing that summed up a batch of what the book was approximately is. “Imprisoned misss and adult females deserve a opportunity to mend from past maltreatment. and to larn from their life experiences and the nature of their offenses.

Before adult females and released. they must be given the tools to guarantee that their reintegration into society is non fraught with immediate economic and societal battle. and to assist increase the odds that they will be released into households or communities that will really back up their reintegration. Former captives must be given the productive tools to go productive members of society ; that is. if they weren’t productive already. and if they even needed to be locked up in the first topographic point.

In general. adult females in prison aren’t given one shred of the emotional. societal and vocational accomplishments they need to get the better of the huge hurdlings expecting them beyond the Gatess that have confine them for old ages or decennaries on terminal. ” ( Talvi. 2007 ) In shutting. I ne’er realized to a great extent of the job of adult females in prison. This book. Women behind Bars and besides many outside resources has enlightened me on the turning issue of female captivity. Womans in prison is a job in itself. so taking to all of the other jobs these adult females face while in prison. I believe the battles that adult females go through. travel unnoticed. and more people should be cognizant of the increasing job.

Finally. I feel that Silja J. A. Talvi’s book Women Behind Bars can assist concentrate attending on this turning population of adult females captives. and possibly one twenty-four hours something can be done about this increasing issue.

Harmonizing to the text. adult females represent the fastest turning section of the condemnable justness system increasing 757 % between 1977 and 2004. a rate about 2 times the per centum addition in the male wrongdoer population. The figure of adult females involved in the US condemnable justness system doubled during the 1990s ( Beck. 2000 ) . An estimated 68 in every 100. 000 U. S. adult females are functioning clip in a province or federal prison with increased rates to one in every 100 among black adult females in their late thirties.

Womans presently represent about 7 % of the overall province and federal prison population and 24 % of persons on community supervising. Substance usage and maltreatment have been systematically reported as major lending factors in the increasing population of adult females wrongdoers. Some have argued that increased attending to substance users during the late eightiess and 1990s during the war on drugs had peculiar inauspicious effects for adult females. A bulk of adult females wrongdoers have a history of drug usage and drug-related discourtesies. Decision

In shutting. the author ne’er realized to a great extent of the job of
adult females in prison. This book. Women behind Bars and besides many outside resources has enlightened on the author of the turning issue of female captivity. Womans in prison is a job in itself. so taking to all of the other jobs these adult females face while in prison. The battles that adult females go through. travel unnoticed. and more people should be cognizant of the increasing job. Finally. this book. can assist concentrate attending on this turning population of adult females captives. and possibly one twenty-four hours something can be done about this increasing issue.

The author believes that alcohol addiction and dependence is a disease. Because it is a disease. communities should turn to it as a wellness issue and non a condemnable justness issue. Imprisonment merely removes a symptom. but does non bring around the job. The figure of adult females incarcerated is steadily lifting at scaring rates. When you incarcerate a adult female. most frequently. you are besides imprisoning a female parent. The province non merely pays to house the wrongdoer. but frequently pays for the attention of the kids of the wrongdoer every bit good.

Womans wrongdoers have particular demands many of which revolve around their kids. Correctionss should be perceived as a positive and assisting connexion. non a punitory 1. In our present system. unluckily. the adult females must frequently first fail before they are given the degree of intervention they needed in the beginning. A new attack to corrections. one that offers a extremely structured environment and stresses answerability. every bit good as. turn toing the single demands of each wrongdoer will non merely salvage money. but besides more significantly. it will salvage lives. In add-on. communities should take duty and go involved in acquiring and giving instruction. making out to their communities to offer aid assisting nuts find hope through plans that take a holistic attack to their disease.

Addicts need plans that heal organic structure. head and. most significantly. their crushed spirit. If demands are responded to on a personal degree. in a manner that engenders trust and assurance. adult females wrongdoers can get down to trust once more and the lives of households can be rebuilt.

If people do non hold hope. there is nil to endeavor for. no ground to alter. Alternatively of captivity. I believe it would be more cost-efficient to set adult females wrongdoers in a community based plan similar to the work release plan that is used for captives after captivity. These plans would let the person to
keep a occupation. yet they would be held accountable for all their clip. They would have reding on an single footing geared toward each one’s single demands. The best plans combine supervising and services to turn to the specialised demands of female wrongdoers in extremely structured. safe environments where answerability is stressed.

In decision. I believe that if communities would do an attempt to educate themselves and their communities about the disease of alcohol addiction and dependence. they would get down to understand the magnitude of the job. Although there are no easy solutions. one must accept the duty of educating our kids. offer new and advanced plans that heal holistically. and most significantly. accept duty that as citizens one must make out to assist those in our communities who are fighting. offering them hope. support and encouragement.

Mentions

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