Women in Prison:

Inequitable Treatment Requires Action

GGD-81-6: Published: Dec 10, 1980. Publicly Released: Dec 10, 1980.

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Women in correctional institutions do not have access to the same types of facilities, job training, jobs in prison industries, and other services as men prisoners. An increasing number of suits have been brought by women demanding equality in the types of facilities and other opportunities provided. Courts are frequently deciding in favor of female inmates.

Alternatives exist which would provide for more equitable treatment without duplicating existing programs and services. These alternatives include shared facilities, in which men and women would share available resources other than housing. This concept greatly increases the range of programs, facilities, and other services for women. Community corrections is an alternative to the traditional approach of incarceration which involves the community in the corrections process. This approach greatly increases sentencing alternatives, may include restitution to the community or victim through either service or monetary means and, at the same time, may require education or training that will benefit the offender. Joint venture is a concept of pooling resources at the Federal, State, and local levels to better utilize incarceration facilities. Agreements between prisons could greatly enhance the possibilities for solving inequities in female corrections. Another alternative is private industry involvement either inside the institution or through contracts to provide a product or service. This concept could expand the industrial operations available in institutions and could provide work and earnings for inmates. Private industry involvement could also be an effective link to the outside world for inmates.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status:

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should require the National Institute of Corrections to place more emphasis on research and evaluations of innovative approaches that are being used at the different levels of corrections throughout the United States and serve as a clearinghouse for disseminating information on successful alternatives to the Federal, State, and local levels.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  2. Status:

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should provide the same level of resources and opportunities to women inmates as are provided men.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice


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