Assessing the consequences of our country’s soaring imprison rates has less to do with the question of guilt versus innocence than it does with the question of who among us truly deserves to go to prison and face the restrictive and sometimes brutally repressive conditions found there. We are adding more than one thousand prisoners to our prison and jail systems every single week. The number of women in prisons and jails has reached a sad new milestone. As women become entangled with the war on drugs, the number in prison has increased if not double the rate of incarceration for men. The impact of their incarceration devastates thousands of children, who lose their primary caregiver when Mom goes to prison.
Statistics are invaluable for students like me, when we have to prove what we are talking about, what we are talking about is not about anecdotal information or the observation of trends. When it comes to prisons, statistics have become their own version of a double-edged sword. Why, the numbers distorted, when it comes to women who are incarcerated for violent crime and the disparity of reducing the sentences or equal treatment since the reality of the economic needs and the fact that women are more likely to be victimized prior to their offense. For instance, most female offenders are less likely to have high paying jobs therefore; bail for even menial crimes is harder to pay for females, especially, if they are the primary caregiver of a child. Food, clothing, diapers which is more important that or bail?
Women in prison need to rehabilitate which involves or should foster relationships, men on the other hand need vocation, but when it comes to establishing goals for gender specifics sentencing there is no adaptations for women and therapeutics. The importance for sentencing is to remove them and reform them to connect with society upon their release. In order to design criminal justice that matches the specific needs and strengths of women, one should consider the history and demographics of the female criminal and the patterns that are reflecting the life factors and offending. The vast majority of female offenders are drug related or property crimes.
The impact of a mother’s arrest is more disruptive on the family. According to the California Research Bureau “two thirds of incarcerated mothers were the primary caregivers for at least one child before they were arrested” (Simmons, 2000, p. 6) With significant impact on the family unit it is difficult not to mention the effect of mothers being incarcerated is creating more psychological problems among children. Parental arrest creates shame, fear, guilt, trauma, and anxiety, which in turn adds to the decline of behavior manifestations in children. When children withdraw, or have low self-esteem their school performance declines, truancy increase, and the alcohol and drug usage leads to aggressive actions which creates cycle of incarcerations. More than half of...