Female Offenders:

Who Are They and What Are the Problems Confronting Them?

GGD-79-73: Published: Aug 23, 1979. Publicly Released: Aug 23, 1979.

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The female offender's involvement in the criminal justice system was the subject of a study to identify the aspects of the system which need improvement. Inmates, correctional officials, and law enforcement officials were interviewed, and discussions were held with government and other agencies involved with the problems of female offenders.

The study surfaced many areas which seem to have adverse impacts on the female. These areas include pretrial detention, sentencing, jail facilities and their locations, jail personnel, inadequate medical and mental health care, recreation, education and vocational training programs, and release programs. Several underlying causes for the inadequacy and ineffectiveness of the criminal justice system as it concerns women are: (1) lack of interest in female offenders; (2) lack of an organized, coordinated approach to criminal justice programming; and (3) lack of adequate, specific funding for female offender programs and facilities. Many of the needs that emerged during the study included: (1) an adopted policy on the purpose of corrections, rehabilitation or punishment; (2) specific, accurate, and comprehensive data on the female offender to serve as a basis for making policy decisions; (3) alternatives to incarceration and probation which will permit a more diversified and individualized approach to corrections; (4) adequate funding to provide needed services and programs which will offer opportunities for positive behavioral change; (5) diversified and relevant education and training programs in the institution which will prepare the inmate for transition back to society; and (6) an effective link from the institution back to society that will provide meaningful employment or training and other services necessary for an individual to make a successful transition.

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