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Gender-Wise Prison? Opportunities for, and Limits to, Reform (From Women and Punishment: The Struggle for Justice, 97-109, 2002, Pat Carlen, ed. -- See NCJ-195990)

NCJ Number
Kate De Cou
Date Published
13 pages
This chapter describes a specific mode of gender-sensitive responses to women inmates in Hampden County Correctional Center in Massachusetts.
The Hampden County Correctional Center is a large local facility that supervises about 1,800 inmates, of which 200 are female, at all security levels, from maximum to community day reporting. The general policy is to keep the sexes as separate as possible. In 1992 a new facility was constructed for men and women as a result of overcrowding. The current facility is a state-of-the-art direct management style jail, in which many inmates are supervised by one officer. The Hampden County model of regime innovation focuses on changing both staff and inmate attitudes toward change, both organizational and personal. Staff reluctance to make changes and modify traditional management techniques is addressed by careful selection and retraining. Inmates are encouraged to make productive use of their time in the facility, learning not only life skills but also learning about themselves and how they make decisions. The Hampden County model further emphasizes the maximum use of interpersonal communication skills and the application of program material to daily living on the residential units. Control tactics by staff involve early recognition and intervention for stressful behaviors and circumstances rather than the threat of and use of force. Both staff and inmates are encouraged to embrace an understanding of the psychological implications of early abuse in conditioning current behavioral and emotional responses. Control of inmates thus becomes part of a staff-inmate relationship in which inmates are encouraged to make specific behavioral choices, with a clear awareness of the positive and negative consequences. Sections of this chapter describe education and vocational training as well as family services.