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Discrimination in Prison Problem


Though affirmative actions were intended to stop social injustice and compensate for differences in sex, gender, race, etc., the main functions of these measures were a temporal phenomenon. They had to keep our society from criminal acts committed and protect vulnerable social groups, including females, from oppression. Though, even nowadays, police and authorities experience confusion investigating bias-based cases which violate women’s rights.

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Men and women were treated unequally for the reasons of sex differences; women got an education that was more appropriate for their sex; their salaries were smaller than men’s. Affirmative actions were intended to prevent this treatment and support women in all social spheres of life including education, job search, credit obtaining, etc. At the same time, speaking about legal factors, females were treated better, than men. They were considered less dangerous for society, than men, frequently achieved charge reductions or total dismissals of charges, etc (Muraskin & Roberts, 2008, p. 681). Despite all applied measures, the fact that social inequality still reigned among wide masses was obvious, and tendencies to eliminate affirmative actions appeared.

For women, eliminating measures may lead to such negative consequences as violation of their civil rights. Taking into account the fact that even now there is a tendency to interpret bias-based crimes against women as common ones, the elimination of affirmative actions may give broad lands for such actions. Neglect and scorn of moral and professional duties in the sphere of the administration of justice for women may become one of the main problems in the process of creating of full-fledged and equal rights society.

Transgendered people are representatives of the social group which is often discriminated against. Society rejects its dissimilar members thereby transgender women often have difficulties with getting a proper education or job; renters do not want to lease their lodging and common people often do not accept their choice of gender and self-identification. As a result, seeking means of subsistence, some transgender people sometimes become sex workers or drug dealers, etc.

It is obvious that the place where bias often prospers is a prison; that is why imprisonment is always harder for special social groups than for traditional ones. When transgender people are kept in prison, their placement depends on their natural sex from birth. The fact that a transgendered person might have spent many years as a representative of another gender is not taken into account. As a result, aggressors among prisoners are prejudiced against transgendered women stronger than against traditional prisoners. Cases of humiliation, taunting, and harassment in prisons “can include ridicule, objectification, overt sexual propositions, and aggressive flirting” (Muraskin & Roberts, 2008, p. 695).

Authorities also do not treat transgender prisoners equally to traditional ones. Very often, hormone therapy stops in prison which leads to changes in the moral, physical and psychic state of a transgender person. At times, such radical actions as self-castration occur. Moreover, police officers, guards, or prisoners sometimes incline transgender women to sexual intercourse, which are often interpreted by official authorities as consensual acts (Muraskin & Roberts, 2008, p. 695).


It is clear, that the problem of discrimination requires a great work of social workers, especially in such establishments as prisons where discriminated people have even fewer opportunities to struggle for their rights than usually. “…Prison health care professionals and staff” should “receive a minimum of eight hours of transgender cultural competency and health care training” (Muraskin & Roberts, 2008, p. 701).

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Muraskin, R., & Roberts, A. R. (2009). Visions for Change: Crime and Justice in the Twenty-First Century (5th Edition). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

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