The article “Coming to the Aid of Women in U.S. Prison” addresses interventions that could be used on women prisoners, whose population has been increasing at a faster rate than that of men (McClellan, 2002). Specifically, it is contended that education, litigation, and human rights could be used to address the problems facing women prisoners in U.S. Jails.
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From the article, it is evident that the reasons contributing to the rapid growth of women prisoners in U.S. jails include poverty, unemployment, less education, abuse, and victimization, as well as drug use and dependence. These factors must be put into consideration when designing programs to address the problem of women prisoners. However, the author is categorical that most women prisoners in U.S. jails are systematically denied access to meaningful programs and, consequently, recidivism rates are much higher (McClellan, 2002).
The author argues that effective education and empowerment programs should be used not only to enable women prisoners acquire new competencies but also to restructure “their personal system of social relations in a group setting where participants explore common influences and problems that affect each of their lives” (McClellan, 2002 p. 39). Litigation must be targeted at challenging the conditions of confinement of women prisoners, and also at ensuring that disciplinary rules are applied equally to male and female prisoners. In the context of human rights, prison institutions should be more humane, friendly, and professional. Victimization and unfairness should be discouraged to spur holistic reforms (McClellan, 2002).
This article is an eye-opener in addressing the problems facing women prisoners in U.S. prisons using interventions such as education, litigation, and human rights. If these interventions are implemented as programs within the U.S. prison system, the population of women prisoners is likely to go down.
The book, titled “A World Apart: Women, Prison and Life Behind Bars”, provides personal accounts of women incarcerated at MCI-Framingham, which is one of the oldest operational women’s prisons in the U.S. This summary illuminates how women prisoners undergo agonies of family relationships severance, institutional malaise, and sexual abuse.
Most women prisoners suffer from depression due to separation from their families. A personal account of a woman prisoner named Denise shows how the prison lacks systems and programs to maintain relationships between incarcerated mothers and their children. It is evident that family separations not only provide an enabling environment for children to become delinquent due to lack of parental guidance but also enhances the risk of recidivism.
Institutional malaise is a matter of great concern in U.S. prisons. It is clear that some prisons do not account for their budgetary allocations, while others fail to adopt practices that will bring greater efficiency. Consequently, Women, prisoners continue to be unfairly treated and discriminated against, leading to high levels of depression and recidivism (Rathbone, 2007).
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A personal account of a woman prisoner known as Julie demonstrates that sexual predation/abuse is a common occurrence in most U.S. prisons (Rathbone, 2007). In my view, women engage in sexual relationships with male correctional personnel to gain personal favors, distract themselves from their own agonies, or for pleasure. The author suggests that it is difficult to reform such women due to the malpractices involved.
To conclude, this book is informative on the challenges faced by women prisoners in MCI-Framingham in particular and the U.S. in general. However, although the author provides personal accounts of prisoners to illuminate the challenges, the work is weak due to failure to provide interventions that could be used to address the challenges.
McClellan, D.S. (2002). Coming to the aid of women in U.S. prisons. Monthly Review: An Independent Socialist Magazine, 54(2), 33-44.
Rathbone, C. (2007). A World apart: Women, prison, and life behind bars. New York, NY: Random House Publishing Group.