According to a factsheet by The Sentencing Project (2012), more than 200,000 women are incarcerated, including those in local jails. In addition, out of these 200,000 women “1 in 25 women in state prisons and 1 in 33 in federal prisons are pregnant when admitted to prison.” Due to their sentencing, many of these women are forced to give birth while incarcerated. Then days later are separated from their newborn to finish their sentencing. More mothers end up in jails than fathers, and men do not have to worry about bringing their future child into a jail cell like many women do. Granted they may leave their family behind, including a pregnant wife, but they do not have to worry about the care of another human being inside of them while they are behind bars.
However, there are cases when women actually feel they are safer in prison than when they are out in the world. The removal from the outside world gives them the chance to focus on themselves. Bradley and Davino’s study conducted in 2002 collects the general feel that 65 incarcerated women have towards a southern state prison. These women reported feeling safer when compared to their adulthood and childhood before prison. Outside of prison, women are susceptible to emotional and physical pain because of problems such as domestic violence or drugs. This prison also gave women the education needed when they are eventually released. Some women had not even heard of the dangers of disease like HIV before.
Andrew Novinska pointed out in his article from 2002, women “have been viewed within our culture as less mentally healthy than men” (p. 105). The women in the 2002 study recognized that their own world is not safe, even being in prison. One woman was into the drug scene and was attacked by a man because of a drug related problem. They already have this stigma set on them that they are not mentally healthy and therefore feel shame and guilt as a result which in turn could lead to more problems. Outside of prison they can be physically and emotionally abused. Therefore, while working against that stigma, women focus on getting out of prison by bettering themselves and then work on remaining out of prison while still bettering themselves can be very draining. Yet, most know they do not want to exactly remain inside prison. They are separated from the ones they love, like their children, who they look to for support as well as be supported in return. Not that they do not always have their support, but they do not have that support immediately and physically beside them. That seemed to be one of the main disadvantages the women responded with regarding being incarcerated.
According to another study by Hutchinson, Moore, Propper, and Mariaskin (2008), being in prison kept women off the streets and away from drugs, and it kept them busy, in line, and focused on getting sober if needed to. Alcohol is one drug that many women struggle with. Women experience problems from drinking earlier than men...