A growing prison population, and a growing trend of privatizing institutions leads to a complicated experience for women in the prison system.
By themselves each of these facts are troubling:
- “There are 148,200 women in state and federal prisons. In federal women’s correctional facilities, 70% of guards are male.”
- “Guards threaten the prisoner’s children and visitation rights as a means of silencing the women.”
- “From 1986 to 1996 the number of women sentenced to state prison for drug crimes increased ten-fold.”
- “Women are often denied essential medical resources and treatments, especially during times of pregnancy and/or chronic and degenerative diseases.”
- “An African American woman is eight times more likely than a European American woman is to be imprisoned; African American women make up nearly half of the nation’s female prison population”
However, all of these smaller issues are compounding on one another. No issue exists in a vacuum; the combination of these instances lead to an environment of fear, oppression, and minimal to zero advocacy for women.
This source will be helpful establishing an informed basis for my ethical argument. The report lists facts about women in the prison system. Applying an ethical lense will reveal the larger systemic problem that these issues are derived from. Ultimately, these facts will be used to substantiate or debunk claims from the Corrections Corporation of America.
The corrections corporation of America is representative of the larger private sector of the prison system. By calling into light some of the actions directly or indirectly sanctioned by this corporation, I will examine the ethics of policies that exist to keep a robust prison population in tact to fund the private prison industry. Additionally, I will examine the implications of policies that enforce population quotas for women’s experience in the penal system.
Discrimination based on sex, gender, and race is rampant within the entire prison-industrial complex. This issue is brought into focus when almost almost half of the women in the prison population are women, while African Americans as a whole make up only 13% of the entire population, suggesting that African American women are grossly overrepresented within this system. Conditions within the facilities promise discrimination, sexual harassment, and inadequate health care needs. I want to use this information to point to the ethical consequences of privatizing prison populations, and look at how Corrections Corporation of America benefits from these instances of neglect and abuse.
(Also PS I had a moment this afternoon where I realized that I didn’t want to write about my paper 2 topic so this is me changing it up and writing about Corrections Corporation of America instead)
Women in Prison: A Fact Sheet
The Issue: Sexual Assault and Misconduct Against Women in Prison