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Women Incarcerated 

In today's society, there are women incarcerated that face daunting challenges in the United States for crimes they have committed. The majority of incarcerated females are parents to children under the age of 18 and many mothers have sole custody of their children. Many women plan on continuing their parenting after they are released from incarceration. The average female prisoner has about 2.5 children. Men and women experience different pathways to crime and addition. Many females that are dependent of substance use and addictions are usually arrested based on drug-related crimes like possession, sale, or manufacturing illegal drugs. In recent research, women that have committed crimes have also been related to their romantic partners and the history of their interpersonal relationships. Interpersonal relationships of women and men that have committed similar crimes or related to childhood trauma, mistreatment, psychiatric disorders, negative self-concept of common society ideals. 

Gender-responsive programming can help females overcome the challenges that are unique to females that are incarcerated. Certain challenges can include mental health components, female-specific medical treatments, child separation or parental rights loss, relapses in drug abuses and dependency on former romantic relationships. In 2020, there were 152,854 women incarcerated in US jails, state prisons, and federal prisons. Although there are not as many women incarcerated as men, the growth rate of women becoming more incarcerated has risen since 1980. In 2020, there were 763,425 women under the control of the U.S. corrections system probation. Imprisonment of Black women (65 per 100,00) was 1.7 times the rate of imprisonment for white women (38 per 100,00). The rates of Latinx women were imprisoned at 1.3 times the rate of white women (48 vs. 38 per 100,000). These rates are representative of the overall United States population. U.S. women have been compared to men in the justice system by offense type in state prisons for instance, typical offenses by gender are violent, property, drug, and public order. 

In recent Justice Administrative research the necessity of statistically placing women and men in sperate categories based on their gender biological traits that explain the reasoning behind their criminal activity. Justice researchers continue to understand the complexities of "Why women commit certain crimes over men?" "What biological instincts happen when women commit certain crimes over men?" "What relationship and prior background histories of policing and incarceration do women have?" Typical questions that can lead researchers to understand the depths of their case studies and the types of human experiences that a incarcerated woman can have before and after their sanction. Certain geographical data shows that girls in the highest states of confinement (per 100,000) in 2019 were, Alaska, Wyoming, West Virginia, Idaho, Michigan and South Dakota. 

Girls in the youth justice system were detained in these states more than any other state in the US in 2019. The prevalence of geographical justice stability shows a cultural difference in these states than in the rest of the United States. 

However, concepts to understand the ideology of incarcerated women push far beyond the typical geographical locations there were sentenced to confinement. Holly Ventura Miller, PhD. discussed the implications of female re-entry and gender-responsive programming that can be used to help rewire female conscious decisions and thoughts on civil society rule of law. Gender-specific variables particular to female prisoners are such of parent-child relationships, familial reunification, substance abuse, and mental and physical health needs. Cognitive behavioral therapy through all-female group sessions and mutual support groups can help females overcome the basic cognitive blockages that hinder them from instilling civic society concepts and rules. Having the support group of other women gives them stability in their loss of child/ children maternity, severed family relationships, ex-communications from previous lovers, out casting of educational classmates, previous childhood friends, and local community workers (cashiers, retail assistance, janitors, mail mans, teachers, store operators). The stability of group sessions helps regulate the women and their cognitive yearning for connections from before they were incarcerated. Rebuilding connections inside confinement can be challenging when certain connections will be made and severed based on their sentencing limits, religious preferences, educational status, job status before incarcerated, basic living necessities, diet, ability to read and write, and athletic abilities. 

Group sessions for women incarcerated are delicate processes that must be taken seriously throughout every interaction an inmate has with another group member. Rebuilding the civil consciousness of inmates to understand right and wrong comes with gaining consensus in the group sessions. Tripoldi and colleagues examined the finding from six studies using either experimental or quasi-experimental designs published between 1988 and 2008 that focused on interventions delivered to women in adult correctional facilities. They found that women who participated in treatment has 45% lower odds of reoffending their previous substance abuse addictions. The concept that "no woman left behind" shows that women must band together to make corrections to their lives. 

Policy and practice recommendations:

  1. Gender-Responsive Re-entry 

  2. Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

  3. Therapeutic Communities

  4. Focus on Aftercare

  5. Medication-Assisted Treatment

  6. Peer Recovery Support 

  7. Employment and Skills Training

  8. Housing Assistance

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