What Is Prison Life Like For Women?

Prison For Women

Daily prison life for women differs from daily prison life for men. For one, unlike male inmates, women typically do not present an immediate, violent physical danger to staff members and fellow inmates. In fact, barely any female prisons report any major instances of violence. Violence is usually concentrated only in male prisons.

In addition, female prisons do not involve the anti-authority inmate social code oftentimes found in male prisons. In male prisons, life in prison is normally governed by mandates set forth by gang leaders. This includes: no snitching, not cooperating with authorities, and attacking disloyal members. In female prisons, gang activity is much reduced. Furthermore, the little bit of gang activity that occurs in female prisons doesn’t end up affecting the whole infrastructure like in a male prison.

However, being confined does still cause a lot of sever anxiety and anger for many women, especially due to being separated from families and loved ones. Sometimes, women are incarcerated while pregnant. In such an instance, they are oftentimes forced to give birth in the prison. Afterward, their child is either immediately removed, or allowed to stay with the woman for a brief period of time. Although a woman can partake in conjugal visits, this cannot make up for all the lost time.

Women in prison also cope with their problems differently. Unlike men, who direct their anger outward, female prisoners tend to revert to more self-destructive acts in order to deal with the situation. In fact, female inmates are much more likely than male prisoners to mutilate their own bodies and attempt suicide. These activities include simple scratches, carving the name of their boyfriend on their body, and cutting their wrists. Wrist cutting is actually a huge concern among prison officials. Blood released from wrist cutting can spread to others and drastically increase inmates’ and staff members’ risk of contracting an STD like Aids or hepatitis.

Another method utilized by female prisons for adapting to prison-life is the fabrication of a make-believe family. These groups normally contain masculine and feminine figures that act as fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters. Informal marriages and divorces may even be performed. Sometimes, one inmate may hold multiple roles. A woman, for instance, may be a sister in one family and a wife in another. Oftentimes, homosexual women play the ‘male’ roles.

Although a drastic difference in prison life exists between men and women, the pain and frustration still remain the same. What can be said, though, is that women deal with the situation differently than men.

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