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And in California , women were more likely to have their phone privileges revoked, a punishment that not only affects a woman, but her children. In California, between and , women inmates had almost a day per week on average of good conduct credit revoked, a higher rate than their male counterparts. There is a power struggle going on and… we have not prepared our staff to manage this population. A sheet lists biases that correctional officers have towards female inmates going into a training for correctional officers at Logan Correctional Center on March 15, Criminality among women has long been seen as a particular affront to social order.

While male outlaws in popular culture are often romanticized, women are instead met with contempt. What kind of mother are you? These attitudes have long been documented in prison records. As far back as prison administrators in Illinois considered female inmates more disruptive and difficult to manage, according to research by L. Dodge also analyzed inmate records from the State Reformatory for Women in Dwight, Illinois, from to She found that the top three rule violations among female inmates were talking loudly, disrespect to staff, and lateness.

This over-policing was unique to women, Dodge concluded. Women were also more likely than men to be severely punished for these infractions, McClellan found, including more time in solitary confinement and harsher restrictions during family visits. Unlike male inmates, if women had received a ticket for any infraction in the past month, they would be denied their bimonthly, five-minute call home or be limited to no-contact visits with their children.

The s saw an increased interest in female inmates, and researchers determined that their pathways into criminal behavior overwhelmingly involved poverty, abuse, and trauma.

Prisoners' Rights

Since that time, a handful of states — including Illinois, Michigan, Iowa , California and Vermont — have instituted reforms. They have adjusted their intake processes and risk assessments. They have hired more women in a field still dominated by men, and promoted more of them to leadership positions.

Women at Logan Correctional Center had access to only one vocational program, nail technician training, last March. Twelve women out of about 1, inmates were enrolled in the program, according to state data. Female prison populations across the country have in common high rates of past physical and sexual abuse.

A study by Illinois found that 98 percent of women behind bars in the state had experienced physical abuse before incarceration, and 75 percent had been victims of sexual abuse. Recent research found that between 61 and 83 percen t of incarcerated women in Illinois exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

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That is three times more than incarcerated men. It is also higher than any other studied demographic, including combat veterans. These figures mirror studies in other states and in the federal prison system. Advocates like Benedict say the growing body of research on trauma ought to be tapped to help develop correctional systems that allow incarcerated women to rehabilitate and recover. Now, for most of us in society, the very idea of going to prison for even a short amount of time, and the loss of liberty that entails, is a real deterrent. Perhaps their lives are so chaotic that prison, in the scheme of things, might not seem so bad.

In the last five years, just over a quarter of a million custodial sentences have been given to offenders for six months or less; over , sentences were for 12 months or less. But nearly two thirds of those offenders go on to commit a further crime within a year of being released. The most common offence for which offenders are sentenced to less 6 months — some 11, offenders — is shoplifting.

We know that offenders who commit this kind of crime often have drug or alcohol problems, and many are women. Almost half of women sentenced to a short custodial sentence are there for shop theft. The impact of short custodial sentences on women generally is particularly significant. For women, going into custody often causes huge disruption to the lives of their families, especially dependent children, increasing the risk they will also fall into offending.

And for many offenders, both men and women, who may not have a stable job or home, and who are likely to have alcohol or drug problems, a short stay in prison can result in them losing access to benefits and drug or alcohol support services and treatment.

Additional topics

Coming out of prison, they find themselves back at the start of the process and feeling like they have even less to lose. The public will always want to prioritise schools or hospitals over the criminal justice system when it comes to public spending.

But where we do spend on the criminal justice system, we must spend on what works. Every offender must have their property logged. They must be issued with their prison essentials — toothbrushes; clothing; bedding. They must be risk assessed for self-harm risks and the risks they pose to other offenders. There are full security procedures including a strip search for many. In , almost 50, offenders were sentenced to immediate custody for 6 months or less. And offenders are less likely to reoffend if they are given a community order, which are much more effective at tackling the root causes behind criminality.

Working with our justice partners, I hope that GPS tags will be available across the country by April. It will be an important new tool in controlling and restricting the movement and certain activities of offenders. It will also help manage offenders safely in the community and strengthen the protection available for victims by monitoring exclusion zones.

Other new technology and innovations are opening up the possibility of even more options for the future too. For example, technology can monitor whether an offender has consumed alcohol, and enables us to be able to better restrict and monitor alcohol consumption where it drives offending behaviour. We are testing the value of alcohol abstinence monitoring requirements for offenders on licence, building on earlier testing of its value as part of a community order. Underpinned by evidence of what works to reduce reoffending, we are also increasing the treatment requirements of community orders.

Offenders given a community sentence including mental health treatment have also shown to be significantly less likely to reoffend. The programme is currently being tested in courts across five areas in England —Milton Keynes, Northampton, Birmingham, Plymouth and Sefton.

It dictates a new minimum standard of service, with additional training for staff to improve collaboration between the agencies involved — all of which is increasing confidence among sentencers to use them. Many offenders in prison have mental health problems, but often struggle to engage with treatment on the same terms as they could in the community. That is why the Health Secretary and I want to explore how innovative digital technologies can be put to use to serve the mental health needs of our prisoners.

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We also know stable accommodation is a key factor in reoffending. This is part of a cross-government action necessary to cutting reoffending and tackle the root causes of criminality. But if we want to successfully make a shift from prison to community sentences it is critical that we have a probation system that commands the confidence of the courts and the public.

I will return to the subject of probation in much greater depth later this year. But, in thinking strategically about the future of our justice system I believe in the end there is a strong case for switching resource away from ineffective prison sentences and into probation.


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This is more likely to reduce reoffending and, ultimately, reduce pressures on our criminal justice system. I am determined to strengthen the confidence courts have in probation to ensure we can make this shift away from short custodial sentences towards more punitive and effective sanctions and support in the community. For those who are serving longer sentences, we need to ensure that prisons are humane, safe and secure. Much good work has been done over the past year, led by the excellent Prisons Minister Rory Stewart.


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But in prison, to reduce the chances of reoffending on release, there needs to be a positive outlook for the future and a sense that there is light at the end of the tunnel so long as an offender wants to turn their back on crime. If, at the end of a prison term, our objective is to release into the community a responsible citizen, we must first ensure that we have a responsible prisoner. Research last year shows the more ROTL a prisoner gets, the less chance there is of them reoffending.

We are currently consulting on loosening some of the barriers to using ROTL for some prisoners. Archived from the original on Greenwood Publishing. Osprey Journal of Ideals and Inquiry. II : Archived from the original on 8 August In Classen, Albrecht; Scarborough, Connie eds. Walter de Gruyter. Fred Alford, "What would it matter if everything Foucault said about prison were wrong?

Discipline and Punish after twenty years. How to read Foucault's discipline and punish. Archived from the original on 31 March Vintage Books. David Cornell University Press. Horrors of the prison ships: Dr. West's description of the wallabout floating dungeons, how captive patriots fared.