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Women in Prison: From Partial Justice to Vengeful Equity

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 60 Issue: 7 Dated: December 1998 Pages: 66-73
M Chesney-Lind
Date Published
8 pages
This article reviews the status of women in prison and recommends changes.
During the 1980s, the United States opened more than 34 facilities for women inmates. By 1990, the Nation had 71 female-only facilities, and in 1995 the number jumped to 104. The article reviews reasons behind the shift in society's response to women's crime, the unique challenges produced by women inmates, and what the United States could do better in creating a woman-oriented response to the dramatic increase in women's imprisonment. It looks briefly at the effect of sentencing reform on the growing numbers of women in prison and increased policing of women's behavior while on probation or parole. Women in prison have different personal histories than their male counterparts, less serious offense backgrounds, long histories of victimization and have committed relatively nonviolent crimes. Extensive reliance on imprisonment could easily be rethought without compromising public safety. The article suggests alternative policies. Notes, references