Women had been characterized as the weaker sex. Female personality had been associated with kindness, softness and gentleness. In stereotyping women, society underestimated their abilities to commit a crime. But recently, the increasing trend of females involved in crimes makes society search for explanations. Different fields of studies such as sociology, psychology and criminology proposed various views in understanding the problem. What is causing the sudden increase of women in prison?
Although, majority of the cases of women crime are non-violent and aggressive, these “female fatale” can also commit an extreme crime as to earn the word “Black Widow”. The increasing rate in which women are becoming involved in crime is a fact that cannot be ignored. As Geringer (2005) cited, there is an estimated 2.1 million female crimes committed in 1999 in the United States. This truth can cause an impact in society especially to an institution such as the family.
Recently in the Feminist Daily News Wire dated Dec. 6, 2006, the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) gave a report that reveals the number of women in US prisons has risen 57 percent since 1995. Comparing this figure to the number of male prisoners, it was revealed that make prisoners has increased 1.9 percent, whereas the number of incarcerated women has gone up to 2.6 percent, according to the report. It is in North Dakota where the highest number of female prisoners come from, registering an 18.2 percent increase since 1995. New York City registered the biggest decrease. Additional reports demonstrate that in comparison to white women, the black women are twice as likely to be imprisoned while Hispanic women are more than three times as likely. According to Marc Mauer, Executive Director of the Sentencing Project, the facts do not show the incarceration’s impact on the thousands of children who suffer because their mothers are imprisoned for relatively small crimes. This is one of the reasons why there is an increase in the number of women prisoners today. (Study Highlights Increase of Women in Prison).
Female Crimes as a Social Problem
Based on the article of Geringer, as early as 18th century there had been records of female crimes. Several of these cases last for years before they were found out by the police. The reason behind this is that, the authority underestimated the involvement of women. Recorded cases during this time were those of infamous cases such as the categories of “Black Widow”. This term was first coined for women who killed their husbands for monetary gains. But later on this term was expanded to accommodate conclusions of some studies on the concept of Black Widow. As cited by Geringer, in a study done by Evripidou, the profiles of victims of black widows were not just their husbands, some of them were strangers. Although, there been an increase in female involvement in crimes, the severity of the offenses as that of “black widow” had declined.
Some cases of female crimes can be linked to the effects of economic and social deprivation. As based on the article of Geringer (2005) in the case of Mary Ann Cotton in the 1800, after the death of her father she experienced poverty and vowed never to go hungry again, thus in this context she killed her husbands and children for monetary gains. Although, this is debatable, this is just a proposed explanation using the sociological perspective in trying to understand the problem.
Some studies also explained the problem can be a cycle of abuses as Jane Siegel and Linda Williams (2003, p71) wrote that women as victims also turned out as offenders in studies done by scholars. This study by Siegel, et al also suggest that there is a correlation between sexual abuse and delinquency. It is in this context that the sociological perspective of the problem might be the right explanation in this social issue.
As cited by Covington (2002) unhealthy relationships by women produces psychological outcomes such as: (1) diminished zest and vitality, (2) disempowerment, (3) unclarity or confusion, (4) diminished self-worth, and (5) a turning away from relationships. Thus, these characteristics had pushed women to commit crimes. Profile of women proves that majority of them were once victims of crimes.
Causes and Origins of Crime
Base on Gender-Responsive Strategies for Women Offenders by Bloom, Owen and Covington (2005), they cited theoretical perspectives on why women commit crimes. Some of these women have histories of “personal abuse, mental illness tied to early experiences, substance abuse and addiction, economic and social marginality, homelessness and dysfunctional relationships”. The motivation of women to commit a crime is sometimes driven by their experiences in a personal relationship. There is also the theory of “trauma and addiction”. (Bloom, et al, 2005, p6). The causes and origins of crime of women offenders are interrelated. There is also a cycle of pattern with the crime.
Severity of the Problem
According to Bloom, et al (2005), female pathways in crime is related to her role as a woman. They write that “among women the most common crimes are based on survival of abuse and poverty and substance abuse” (2005, p 6). The vulnerability as women in a society had risked them also to crimes such as, sexual abuses and domestic violence. These experiences had made some of them offenders.
It is also important to note that although some of the crimes were violent in nature these crimes cracked due to the very subtle and discreet methods in committing these crimes. The nature of death based on the records showed that it is very hard to realize that the victims were murdered. As women used non-aggressive ways such as poisoning or suffocating their victims that can only be detected if the investigator has suspicion of a foul play.
As cited by Siegel, et al (2003, p 7), there had been an increase in women and girls arrested and convicted for various crimes in recent years. It is in this trend that the society is now trying to understand the severity of the problem. In the article of Geringer (2005) he cited the report of the Bureau of statistician whereas:
an estimated 28 percent of violent female offenders are juveniles
Three out of four victims of violent female offenders were women
An estimated four in 10 women committing violence were perceived by the victim as being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the same time of the crime
In 1998, there were more than two million arrests of women accounting for about 22 percent of all arrests that year
Since 1980, the number of female defendants convicted of felonies in state courts has grown at more than two times the rate of increase in male defendants.
Nearly six in 10 women serving time in state prisons had experienced physical and sexual abuse in the past (and) juts under a quarter reported prior abuse by a family member
In the case of more than 60 percent of the 60,000 murders committed by women between 1976 and 1997, the murdered and the victim had known each other intimately as a lover or a family member
To look at these facts, it is devastating to think of its ill effects in society. The sociological explanation that one of the main causes of the problem is a cycle of violence may hold its ground. The increase in the crime, the profiles of the victims, and the profiles of offenders will conclude that indeed it is a cycle. It is, therefore, acceptable that the problem of female crime will continue its trend unless society will stop it.
In recent statistics, as cited by Geringer (2005), the 20th century profile of female serial killers is that 32 percent are homemakers; 18 percent are nurses; and 97 percent are Caucasian. But some data also says that one of the characteristics of women offenders is “disproportionately women of color” (Bloom, Owen, Covington, 2005, p3). Basically though, almost all studies agree that the profile of these women suggests economic and social deprivation.
Perhaps some people still assume that crimes committed by females are usually associated within its family, but the fact is more and more victims of these crimes are strangers. These female criminals had killed their husbands, boyfriends, children, grand children, sisters, mothers and neighbors for various reasons such as profit, control or revenge (Geringer, 2005). Although majority of the victims are intimate friends or family friends, there had been cases where a nurse or caregiver killed their patients.
Consequences for Society
The fact that women functions as a nurture giver gives us a clue on the effects of female crime. As in the study by Campbel, Muncer and Bibel (2000, p489-490), where these arguments hinge on a mother’s role to offspring survival, here are some important facts:
1. Maternal Investment – mothers invest more time in the production of offspring via pregnancy
2. Maternal certainty – men can never be certain of their paternity as compared to the maternity
3. Mother-Infant Attachment – almost all societies women take primary responsibility for infant care
4. Maternal defense of offspring – because of their investment and certainty, mothers play great roles in protecting their offspring
5. Paternal death and desertion – mothers tend to survive longer than their counterpart.
With these important connections, the whole family suffers when a woman is dissociated with her family after conviction of a crime.
Vicious cycle in incarcerating women
The most common punishment that can be brought upon someone who has committed a crime is imprisonment or incarceration. It is a place wherein the people who have been apprehended are confined and are usually deprived of several personal freedoms such as being with their family or loved ones, going outside for regular walks, or even communication to the outside world. If there is any freedom to exercise for these people, the time spent is quite minimal and it is most probably even supervised by the authorities. The detainees of several jail institutions are either there for a short period of time because they are awaiting a specific trial or sentence that the state has to decide upon or the four walls that they live in. This is where they will be spending most of their natural born lives. The idea of being put into prison is quite an intense ordeal that one goes through because it separates oneself from the society that he or she is used to interacting with. All of the luxuries of being able to walk down the street to buy a bag of grocery from the town store is now gone. All liberties have been literally stripped away as the delinquent now starts his life anew amidst a cold, dark and makeshift world that is the world of the prisoners. But what the state does not realize is that the act of violence is not yet finished. By arresting a father or mother and putting them in jail, a lot of consequences ensue. This could trigger a supposed domino effect without the people even being aware of it. Hidden from their consciousness, the justice department, the policemen who have apprehended the criminal, and the other people around who are involved in such a particular skirmish might have actually been instrumental in the birthing of a new criminal at that particular point in time. And the sad thing about it is that both criminal and perpetrator are in the dark about it. The issue of the intergenerational cycle of incarceration is much more profound and should be treated with much more respect by all governing authorities.
It has been found that “children of incarcerated parents are 5-7 times more likely to become incarcerated during their lives than children who do not have a parent who is incarcerated.” (Wheden-West, 1993) This is an astonishing fact because the potential for the children to be involved in crime is quite high. The alarming rate has caused several authorities and key people to look into the lives of criminals who have left children in their absence. It is because at the time of arrest or separation from the parent, the child might experience the effects of post-traumatic stress or extreme anxiety. The extreme level of stress that a child might experience is quite high since at the time of disconnection, their minds and psyches are still quite fragile because of the shock of the moment. The idea that their sole caregiver and guardian has been forcibly removed from their lives will come quite a shock to the children who witness this firsthand. Children whose parents have been arrested and incarcerated face unique difficulties. Many have experienced the trauma of sudden separation from their sole caregiver, and most are vulnerable to feelings of fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, depression and guilt. (Simmons, 2000) The researcher and philosophy doctorate Charlene Simmons has come to the conclusion that as a child of someone who has experienced the stress of having your parent or parents stripped away from you, one may experience several negative feelings that range from depression to anger. The feeling of the individual, especially a child, who has lost their mother or father to a state prison is indescribable and the feelings stay for quite a while. Just as when the delinquent first comes to grips with his or her new reality during the first night of imprisonment, the children who have been left behind also experience the same amount of stress during the separation. This type of stress, if left unchecked, may be the only factor that will trigger such a repeat in the cases of the children of the criminals. No matter how much they don’t mean it, the children that the detainees have left behind are probably just walking time bombs ready to explode when the time is up. For a child, there may be several effects. Simmons writes:
“The behavioral consequences can be severe, absent positive intervention—emotional withdrawal, failure in school, delinquency and risk of intergenerational incarceration. Yet these children seem to fall through the cracks. Police do not routinely ask at the time of arrest whether their prisoners have children, nor do sentencing judges or correctional agencies regularly raise this question. Since no agency collects data about these children, it is unclear how many are affected, who they are, or where they live.” (Simmons, 2000)
As it was gleaned from the California Research Bureau, the police authorities, at the time of arrest do not routinely check or ask if the criminal lives with any children at that point in time. It is through these moments of lapses wherein the destruction begins. Because the police fail to ask for the presence of children, this subtle disregard for the future of the children within a particular nucleus of a family is where it all starts. For one particular state alone, the figures are staggering.
In the great state of California, it has been estimated that around nine percent of the state’s children have a parent currently involved in the state’s adult criminal justice system. At the time of recording, that totaled to 856,000 children. That figure was broken down to three classifications. Those whose parents were in county jail were 97,000; those whose parents were in state prison were 195,000 and finally those whose parents were on parole or probation amounted to a total of 564,000. Because of the continuing effects of crime, even as some detainees leave the jail for parole and probation, others take their place so it is a vicious cycle. There are times that when the parent comes out of jail, it just so happens that the child that parent left is on his way there. It is quite surprising to note that even though an estimated 1.5 million children have incarcerated parents, about 10 million more have parents who were imprisoned at least once during the course of their children’s lives. The severe trauma directly affects the children involved and they have exhibited several behavioral symptoms that are commonplace to children who have been left behind by incarcerated parents. “The children were found to have experienced emotional problems, nightmares, fighting in school and a decline in academic performance as a result of being separated due to their mother’s incarceration.” (Hunter)
It is quite important to note that the impact of a mother’s incarceration to a child is much more destructive than that of a father’s incarceration. (Bloom) The reason behind this is it is estimated that two-thirds of incarcerated mothers were the sole caregiver of at least one child in the family before their arrest. This maternal factor comes in quite essential because the trauma of being separated with one’s primary caregiver is quite a blow for some children. Add to that the fact “that one in five of their children were present at the time of their arrest and over half of the children were between three and six years old” (Johnston, 1991) and you have quite a volatile case on your hands. The number of studies that have been done by several psychologists and institutions have come to a conclusion that the effect of the arrest of parents to their children is definitely far-reaching and profound. Even if these particular studies are small-scale, their conclusion is still quite similar and they have reported cases of children who have succumbed to trauma, anxiety, guilt, fear and shame. These multiply psychological problems come up not only once in their lives but like a scar, it becomes embedded in their psyches and it manages to grow and fester until it comes to a point that another criminal comes to life in the person of the children whose trauma has now reached its fullest potential (Simmons)
In a study made in a visitation program in a women’s prison, the facilitators found out that “three-quarters of the children reported to have difficulty sleeping, depression, concentration problems and several flashbacks of their mother’s crimes or arrest and finally poor school performance.” (Kampfner) For the statistics on this the National Council on Crime and Dependency tallied all of the reported cases that were identified by their caregivers and the list was topped with problems in school which amounted to 28.8 percent of the respondents, followed by behavioral problems which was just below the rank of school problems as it garnered around 27.3 percent. These two main problem areas of children whose mothers were incarcerated were quite familiar and were normally expected if a juvenile went into such high amounts of stress during the early stages of his life (Kupers).
As a proposed solution to this, there are several entities and organizations who are adamant about nurturing the child once a caregiver such as a mother or a father is abruptly taken away from their lives. One of these organizations is CHIP or Children Having Incarcerated Parents. This organization seeks to identify children who have incarcerated parents or caregivers and provide avenues for maintaining the parent-child relationship that was there before the time of separation. It also seeks to remove barriers to parent-child reunification by strengthening the relationship between parent and child. It also has a proactive type of approach by making the move to enhance the child’s life skills by providing different opportunities for the child to make a positive impact as a youth. These things, aside from coordinating services between child welfare, are the primary objectives of an organization such as CHIP. This particular organization is definitely what the incarcerated parents need nowadays. Since the routine checkup on the children of incarcerated parents is not part of the law enforcement’s job, a separate entity should now be able to go in and start making an impact towards a more proactive approach on such a very volatile and sensitive area of a child’s life (Johnston, 1991).
The basic knowledge that is currently available about the intergenerational cycle of incarceration is quite few and the data is only based upon such a small scale. The data gathering of such issues has been limited only to small-scale studies as well as surveys. These types of studies which have gained the following important data are quite instrumental in creating the wake up call that is needed by the different correctional facilities of the nation. It should be understood that once a mother or a father is arrested, the next immediate plan of action should be to address whether there are children that have been present during the time of arrest and what action steps should be taken by the different authorities. There should be an immediate referral of persons to organizations such as CHIP so there will be an immediate follow-up to the children who have been left by the delinquents involved.
The task of taking primary action is almost always left to the law enforcement agents. If a mother or father is caught with one or several children during the time of arrest, it is quite important to note that some of the children “fall into the cracks” and are left with delicate and volatile situations such as being left with the neighbors or close friends that have no blood relation with them. These cases should be properly identified and the protocol for such isolated cases should be immediately formed by the necessary governing authorities because in some cases, the law enforcement officials are quite liable. These steps should be taken to ensure that the current and future lives of the children that have been left behind are quite secure in terms of immediate safety and follow-up (Kupers).
The situation of children who have been left behind their incarcerated parents is quite sensitive and utmost care should be given to them during the initial stages of recovery to prevent the different negative behavioral problems that they are psychologically prone to. Because of the different proactive steps taken by organizations such as CHIP, the goal now is to be able to follow their lead in reconciling and strengthening the relationship of parent and child. The government should also be able to address such issues in order to prevent the intergenerational cycle of incarceration from rearing its ugly head time and time again.
The Issue of Labeling
A more insidious cause of the increase of women entering prisons is the fact that these women had been labeled as deviants early on in their teenage, even childhood years. This has a deeper impact on these women who try to live up to those negative labeling. Harmless enough, yes but this has a deep and profound influence on the person, which results in her deviancy and committing of crimes.
Labels have a deep influence on persons, be it negative or positive. A positive label affirms a person, which in turn increases his or her self-confidence and his social status, with its appurtenant positive results along with other factors that enhances that outlook. On the other hand, a negative label may have dire consequences to those that are negatively labeled, with adversarial consequence to a person’s status later in life. For a clear understanding on the effect of labels on persons and its consequence, the labeling theory of deviance gives us a clear picture from both a theoretical and a practical view.
According to Howard S. Becker, labeling or the social reaction theory focus on understanding how a person reacts to a label attached to him or her by the society, either by affirmation or rejection of the label on the individual by the society (1963). Rene Hernandez posits that with this in mind, it does not focus on the individual deviant act but on how the institutions commit the label; among the institutions are the criminal justice system, community, and government. To call Labeling Theory a monolithic entity would be erroneous; Scott Davies and Julian Tanner state that there are three variants of the theory (2003). Davies & Tanner state that the first variant focus on the claim that secondary deviance does not reduce the prospect of a repeat performance but may in fact facilitate further wrongdoing. This type of theory inverts the crime deterrence prediction and inspired tests with mixed results (2003). According to Davies and Tanner, the second variant of this theory focus on the “social psychological impact” of labeling, the central tenet of this variant stems from the change of self-concept of the person as they are labeled (2003). This has found support in the work of Paternoster and Iovanni (1989); Sissem and Maria; and Thomas and Bishop (1984). According to Davies and Tanner, the third variant of the theory focus on the life chances of individuals labeled. This has sparked interest and research by Davies & Tanner (2003); Blomberg (1977); Blomberg, Yeisley & Lucken (1999).
Theoretical Framework: Foundations
George Herbert Mead posits one of the frameworks of labeling theory through his symbolic interactionism. Mead’s works prioritized the individual’s social involvement in the social realm. Mead focused less on the deviant and the emphasized focus on the separation of the conventional and the damned. For Mead, the self is a construct of the mind of the symbols attached by social interactions. This has the effect of “shifting the focus away from the individual deviant and looking at how social structure affects the separation of those persons considered unconventional.” It also has influenced Becker’s approach on labeling theory (www.fsu.edu). Other proponents of labeling theory include Frank Tannenbaum (1938), with his differential perspective and “tagging” which described non-conformity (www.fsu.edu). Edwin Lemert in his work Social Pathology (1951) is considered the proponent of the original labeling theory (www.fsu.edu). Lemert focused on the social construct of deviance (1951). Another proponent, Charles Horton Cooley (1964) lay the “looking glass self” in which the perception of self by an individual is anchored on how other people perceive individual behavior. According to Lemert, “deviance is the product society’s reaction to an act and the affixing of a deviant label on the actor.” Social Pathology also detailed the concept of primary and secondary deviance. According to Thomas Blomberg (1999), Lemert linked labeling theory to other models by using other theoretical models for explaining primary deviance and attributing labeling to secondary deviance. Blomberg noted that other later theorists failed to link labeling to other models. Blomberg (1999) identified that the central tenet of Lemert’s work, the symbolic process suffered inattention by attributing an association with critical and conflict theory. Blomberg (1999) identified that in Lemert’s analysis, labeling, as an explanation of secondary deviance is not necessary.
Theoretical Framework: Development and Trends
In the tumult of the 1960’s, Howard S. Becker formulated his social reaction theory. The gist of Becker’s theory lies in his claim that the rule-making society creates the label deviant depending on the acuteness or severity of the action of the rule-breaker over time. In Becker’s book Outsiders (1963), deviance is a “creation of social groups and not the quality of some act or behavior.” In this regard he criticized other deviance theory by accepting the existence of deviance and in doing so affirms the power of the one creating the label. Becker posits that the one creating and implementing the label are the ones in power. They create a label out of the deviant behavior. The rule-breaking behavior is constant and the labeling varies over time. Furthermore, according to Becker, the labeling is done to achieve favorable consequence to the ones making the label. According to Becker (1963), those that are liable to break the rules are essentially different from the rule-making or rule-abiding society. In a sense, they form a set of values that differ from those that are abiding or creating them. Subsequently, there are differences among those that are labeled different. Becker (1963) identified that certain groups may identify themselves as more “outsider” than others and the great majority belong to the “mainstream.”
Becker’s theory posits that the rules set and enforced by the powerful are often accompanied with a rationale, which is beneficial for those that push for it. Becker (1963) opines that rules enforcement involves the conciliation of difference between many different interest groups by those in position of power. The enforcement of the rule uses formal enforcement as a factor for their occupational justification and earning popular patronage of which the rule is enforced. Becker used two case studies in his work, namely the history of marijuana use in the United States and its use by the individual. In his study, Becker (1963) noted that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, acting as a moral entrepreneur lobbied for the passage of Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 to justify their existence and to curry popular support. The Marijuana Tax Act enjoyed popular support as marijuana became criminalized. In the same vein, the criminalization of marijuana use diminished its supply. Therefore, the use of marijuana became involved in a group identified by the mainstream as deviant. Thus, those that engage in marijuana substance use and trafficking became labeled as deviant and criminal by the society.
Though Becker’s labeling theory enjoys popularity among social scientists today, it is not without its detractors. Among the criticisms lobbied against it are that it cannot be tested and that it fails to explain primary deviance (www.fsu.edu). Becker (1963) acknowledges these points and qualifies his approach to social reaction theory by stating that some groups of rule-breakers may be able to choose alternative courses of action (www.fsu.edu).
A follower of Becker, Thomas Scheff applied Becker’s theory in the area of mental health, Scheff’s focus on the episodic deviant behavior labeled by society as that of a mentally ill due to a behavior that the society cannot categorize. Scheff’s experiment yielded a result in which persons labeled as mentally ill exhibit the stereotypical symptoms of the mentally ill after they were labeled (www.fsu.edu). Subsequently, Scheff’s experiment met criticism. Among these are focus on the deviant rather than the moral entrepreneur (Holstein, 1993), and determinism (Ridlon, 1988; www.fsu.edu). A modification by Edwin Schur (1971) shifted some focus on the deviant by positing that those labeled gain power, organizes, and seeks to redefine society through uprising, social movement, and civil war to the formation of a mainstream political party (www.fsu.edu). Schur’s theory gained influence in progressive social movements and elements.
Social contributions of labeling: Crime and Punishment
In recent times labeling has made significant contribution in understanding how it affects the individual and society. Among the contributors to these is Thomas Blomberg (1977; 1980; 1999). Blomberg’s contribution is his premise that “paradoxically, the development of diversionary programs aimed at reducing labeling and its resultant stigmatization instead led to increased social control over larger proportions of the population”(www.fsu.edu). Three of his works are Diversion and Accelerated Social Control (1977), Widening the Net: an Anomaly in the Evaluation of Diversion Programs (1980), and American Penology: Words, Deeds, and Consequences (with Mark Yeisley ; Karol Lucken, 1999). Among Blomberg’s (1977) studies in youth identified as disadvantaged and vulnerable to criminal behavior, the results show that the youth may not be classified as vulnerable to society label since the vulnerable became so labeled when social institutions deem them as a target for social change. It identified that severe form of social labeling results in a drastic and adversarial effect.
In Blomberg’s critique of net-widening programs (1980), he identified that net-widening programs have an adversarial result in including youths and adults to its programs for development. This may stem from the labeling of those clients in diversion programs. Furthermore, diversion programs marginalize clients through disruption of contacts to the mainstream society and acceleration of contacts to the judicial system with adversarial results. Blomberg identified that faced with such results, policymakers must seriously consider the funding of diversionary programs. Blomberg et.al. (1999) analyzed the American penology system and its reform measures. In their study, Blomberg et.al. (1999) noted, “U.S. penal reforms have been implemented without evaluation and have resulted in a pattern of unintended consequences, most notably increased social control, and an associated undermining of democratic rights and individual freedoms, without any corresponding decline in crime.” Blomberg et.al. (1999) noted that from the penitentiary concept of its early years characterized by barbarous conditions, individual reform and development on a large scale are due to unsound practice to the conservative “get tough” approach of the present which seeks to penalize individuals committing an offense. American penology is flawed. Blomberg et.al. (1999) recommended that the mechanical penology reaction of the US must be changed through the study of a system that works, not merely the funding of a system that is innovative and grounded on a conceptual framework.
The concept of punishment for women offenders before is not different from their male counterpart. The criminal justice had been designed for male population for the number of male offenders is overwhelming as compared to female offenders (Bloom, et al, 2005 p3). But as years pass, the significant increase of the number of women offenders and the probability of women committing the same crime after a year outside the correctional had made the justice system recognize the need to have better policies in dealing with the problem. The criminal justice system re-assessed the practice by which women are punished.
Also, the reason behind this re-assessment is the clamor of different sectors especially women to deal with the problem by deeply understanding the cause of female crime. It had given way to a more comprehensive program for women offenders. In this connection the U.S. Department of Justice produced a more gender-responsive strategies for women offenders.
Based on this program as written Bloom, et al, (2005, p6-9) they address the problem based on the following principles:
1. Acknowledge That Gender Makes a Difference
2. Create an Environment Based on Safety, Respect and Dignity
3. Develop Policies, Practices and Programs That Are Relational and promote Healthy Connections to Children, Family, Significant Others and Community
4. Address Substance Abuse, Trauma, and Mental Health Issues Through Comprehensive, Integrated, and Culturally Relevant Services and Appropriate Supervision
5. Provide Women With Opportunities to Improve Their Socioeconomic Conditions
6. Establish a System of Community supervision and Reentry with comprehensive, collaborative Services
With this program they hope to create a more substantive approach in the correctional for women offenders.
As of today however, it is still not safe to conclude that this program will reduce or eradicate female crimes. The important thing is that the government had recognized the fact that there should be a different approach in addressing the problem. The program should also be implemented sincerely for it to become effective. Understanding the issue and confronting the issue are the main factors in solving this problem. This program also needs help from immediate family members, friends and the whole society to understand the issue, for them to contribute concretely in solving this crime.
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