Women In Prison:

Issues and Challenges Confronting U.S. Correctional Systems

GGD-00-22: Published: Dec 28, 1999. Publicly Released: Jan 31, 2000.

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Laurie E. Ekstrand
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Office of Public Affairs
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the management of female inmate populations.

GAO noted that: (1) in 1980, GAO reported to Congress that U.S. correctional systems had not been aggressive in providing programs and services to female inmates due to their relatively small numbers and because many officials felt that female inmates did not need the same type of training and vocational skills as male inmates; (2) since 1980, the number of women in prison has increased over 500 percent--to about 84,000 at calendar year-end 1998; (3) with the general rise in the number of female inmates, there has been increasing awareness that female inmates have some needs that are different from those of male inmates, such as child-related responsibilities and gender-specific health care; and (4) while progress has been made, GAO's work and other studies indicate that U.S. correctional systems still face challenges in addressing the unique needs of female inmates.

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