The Alarming New Report on Women in Prison
Date:  03-02-2020

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights finds women treated more harshly than men and classified at higher security levels
From The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights:

Highlighted Findings of the report Women in Prison: Seeking Justice Behind Bars

Notwithstanding federal statutory legal protections such as the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) and the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), aimed at protecting incarcerated people, many incarcerated women continue to experience physical and psychological safety harms while incarcerated and insufficient satisfaction of their constitutional rights.

Classification systems which are not calibrated for gender-specific characteristics have been shown to classify incarcerated women at higher security requirement levels than necessary for the safety and security of prisons. This classification results in some women serving time in more restrictive environments than is necessary and appropriate.

Incarcerated parents permanently lose parental rights at higher rates than parents whom courts find to have neglected or abused their children but are not incarcerated.

Incarcerated women generally have biological healthcare needs distinct from incarcerated men. They have a constitutional right to have these healthcare needs met.

Sexual abuse and rape remain prevalent against women in prison. This continuing prevalence has led to significant litigation involving several different institutions, at tremendous cost to taxpayers and providing strong evidence of the need for reform at the institutional level, even following passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) in 2003. Reports include abuse of incarcerated women by staff and other incarcerated women that is prevalent and pervasive.

Studies have shown incarcerated women are often given disproportionately harsh punishments for minor offenses while incarcerated compared to incarcerated men. This disproportionality results in such outcomes as placing women in segregation for minor violations of prison regulations, which denies them good time credits which would shorten their sentences and denies them programing privileges, among other restrictions. Reports indicate women are disproportionately punished harshly for offenses such as “being disorderly” where men tend more often to be punished for violence.

Prison officials, supervisors, and correctional officers are inconsistently trained on the prevalence of disproportionate punishment of incarcerated women and evidence-based disciplinary practices.

Read the full report here.