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Women In The Criminal Justice System

Decent Essays
Involvement of women in the criminal justice system has been notably increasing (Bottos, 2007). This increase has been astounding in the United States; women represented 12,300 of offenders incarcerated in state and federal prisons in the year 1980, that number has risen to 182, 271 as of 2002 (Grant, 2007). A study done by the Bureau of Justice Statistics revealed that “drug offenses represented the largest share of growth in the number of female offenders” (Covington, p.2). It was also noted that 71% of all female arrests are for drug-related offenses (Grant, 2007), and of female offenders in Canadian Federal institutions 80% have substance abuse problems (Matheson, Grant, and Doherty, 2008). Therefore on the basis of empirical support it…show more content…
It is noted in research that women inmates are seven times more likely to experience sexual abuse, and four times more likely to experience physical abuse compared to male offenders (CASA, 2010). According to the research of Chesney-Lind and Pasko (2004) every 15 seconds a woman is beaten, and in the year 1999 85% of domestic violence victims were in fact women. In a qualitative Canadian study on women who use drugs and work in the sex trade, it was found that men condone their use of drugs by supplying them, and support their work in the sex trade. It was noted that in these relationships “violence - both physical and sexual - is common and the experience of and the threat of violence serves to marginalize women further” (Azim, Bontell and Strathdee, 2015, p.17). An interesting perspective on the victimization of women offenders is noted by Grant (2007) where she refers to the victimization of female offenders not only in the general society, but within the criminal justice system in correctional facilities. She articulates the victimization of women by male guards in prisons, in which case “some women are coerced into sex for favors such as extra food or personal hygiene products, or to avoid punishment” (p.138). Grant (2007) in her research articulates how the victimization of women is essentially overlooked in prison, she refers to the Bureau of Justice Statistics showing that women are overrepresented in comparison to other populations in prison to be victims of sexual abuse, making up 46% of victims of abusive sexual contacts in state prisons, and 28% in local jails. Due to the overt existence of the victimization of women offender’s drug abuse may be used as a coping strategy for these women. (Voorhis, Wright, Salisbury, and Bauman,
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