Inside prison, U. SA
Women felons go to a former school a few miles east of the state capitol. The men’s institutions are prisons, plain and hard. They offer cells, guards, cell block gangs. . . The women’s institution feels like the school it was built to be, and its staff encourages reform and rehabilitation.
Attorney David D. Butler,23 describing differences in Iowa
ITEM Any given man n pnson is stJI 1.000 percent as likely as any given woman to die via smode. hormode. or execution.24
Although women s prisons are safer than men’s prisons and designed more for rehabilitation, virtually all the recent press coverage has focused on the plight of the female prisoner – as if that plight were unique to the female prisoner. The result? States such as California are now financing the study of only female prisoner health issues.2′ And states like Wisconsin are spending $2,000 per month for female prisoners against $1,000 per month for male prisoners.26
Women’s prisons, as a rule, do suffer one area of discrimination – job training. Men are more likely to be trained in skills for higher-paying jobs such as welder or mechanic while many women’s facilities focus more on skills for lower-paying jobs such as beautician or launderer.27 This needs to be changed.
Nevertheless, now that the female prison population has increased so that 6 percent of the country’s inmates are female,28 many states are developing programs that offer women special privileges. Mothers in Lancaster, Massachusetts, have special facilities in which to see their children; fathers do not.29 In New York’s Bedford Hills Corrections Facility, mothers have a live – in nursery; fathers do not In Minnesota, women’s prisons are built in residential communities alongside schools; hard-core female prisoners are placed in battered women’s shelters to do community service. No equivalent exists for men.
Once in prison, women tend to be dependent prisoners: they lean more heavily than their male counterparts on the prison staff, on drug rehabilitation programs, and on counselors.30 They also tend to make more use of the prison medical facilities for headaches, upset stomachs, and other complaints.