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Women in Prison This is reality – not a bad movie! Women in Prison 6% of prison population and growing! 16 men for every woman in prison. Numbers have tripled in 20 years. Women in Prison: Statistics 1. The most typical convictions resulting in imprisonment for women are property crimes, such as check forgery and illegal credit card use. 2. Of the women convicted of violent crimes, the vast majority were convicted for defending themselves or their children from abuse. In California alone there are 600 women in prison for killing their abusers in self-defense. Average prison terms are twice as long for killing husbands as for killing wives. Women in Prison: Statistics 1. 54% of women in prison are women of color. 2. Ninety percent of women in prison are single mothers. 3. The average age of women in prison is 29, and 58% have not finished high school. 4. The number of women in prison has increased 138% in the last ten years. This is partly due to the worsening of economic conditions for women, and also due to the increase in arrest rates due to the "war on crime" and "war on drugs". Women in Prison: Statistics 1. Women prisoners spend on average 17 hours a day in their cells, with one hour outside for exercise. Compare to men prisoners, who spend, on average, 15 hours a day in their cells, with 1.5 hours outside. Women in Prison Homosexuality in women’s prisons. More voluntary Efforts to create kinship systems like those on the outside Tend to keep traditional roles – narrow understanding of the role of women in society Prisoner “Types” Squares: Little experience with prison life. Tend to associate more with conventional society than criminal lifestyles. Prisoner Types The “cool”: More likely to be career offenders. Tend to keep to themselves and supportive of inmate values. Prisoner Types “The Life”: Arrested repeatedly . Embrace prison life. Offers alternative for those rejected by conventional society. Prisoner Types “Crack Kids”: Streetwise young women with little respect for traditional prison values, their elders, or their kids. Frequent fights and no domestic skills. Issues Facing Prisons Today AIDS/HIV: 20% of inmates are HIV positive. Geriatric Offenders: 40% of prisoners are older than 50. Mentally ill / Mentally Retarded Offenders: Can we force inmates to take therapy / drugs? Questions to Ponder: What purposes do you think prison subcultures serve? What are the primary concerns of prison staff? What goals should staff focus on? What new problems do you think prisons will face in the future?
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