March is Women’s History Month, a time when women from all over the world celebrate the achievements and strides women have made in the area of women’s rights. Women’s History Month also focuses on the struggles still ahead for women in obtaining true equality and justice. However, an ever-growing segment of females is often overlooked by many -- female prisoners, the majority of whom have been diagnosed with a mental disorder.
The Denver Post reports that two of three female prisoners in Colorado have been diagnosed with a mental disorder. While that number is astounding, it is lower than the national average of 73 percent, according to the Post. In the general population, only 12 percent of women have been diagnosed with a mental illness, the Post reveals.
It is a known fact that female prisoners have a higher history of sexual, physical and mental abuse than non-incarcerated females. Often, a mental disorder leads women to jail or prison. The question arises as to why so many women have been diagnosed with a mental disorder, in comparison to men. Studies have shown that female inmates are more likely to report mental health issues than men, so that might account for the high numbers. Also, correctional institutions are finally recognizing the high percentage of inmates in need of assessment and treatment of mental health disorders. Click here to go to website
Last year, the Bureau of Justice Assistance issued a report that detailed how and why so many women end up behind bars. Women’s Pathways to Jail: The Roles and Intersections of Serious Mental Illness and Trauma, exposes the role mental health issues and serious mental disorders play in behaviors that lead to the arrest and conviction of an increasing number of incarcerated females.