Chapter 6 Women and the CJ System
q Images of Women
q woman as the pawn of biology
q woman as passive and weak
q woman as impulsive and nonanalytical
q act illogically and therefore need the guidance from the more analytical man
q woman as impressionable and in need of protection
q they are childlike and gullible and therefore need more protection from men
q the active woman as masculine ( whenever she breaks away from the traditional roles, it is deemed "unnatural" or even "masculine)
q criminal woman as purely evil (when a woman "falls from grace" she must really be evil, since she is so inherently pure to begin with)
q Madonna-whore duality (either a virtuous person or the paragon of evil or the "seductress)
Women under Roman and Greek Law
Rome - status of women and slaves incorporated into the family under the rule of Patria protestas
This term implied not so much a family relationship, but rather a property relationship.
According to Roman law, unlike slaves, women could not be emancipated
"The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man...Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man." (Corinthians )
"Let women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man" (Timothy)
male dominance over women and children in the family extended to society in general
Lerners theatre analogy
script, stage setting, the props, etc. are controlled by men
American family law incorporated Blackstone's famous dictum that the husband and wife are as one and that one is the husband
Women & Law
In early American law the wife could not sue, execute a deed and engage in any other similar practices, without consent of her husband.
Women denied vote until 1921
In general laws that were designed to protect the interests of persons simply did not apply to women.
Supreme Court ruling in 1867:
"natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations in civil life..."
the "destiny and mission of women are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother"
Under Colonial law some crimes were, in effect, "women's crimes" and were severely punished.
"common scold" - a woman who berated her husband or was too vocal in public settings.
The most appropriate punishment for scolding was the "ducking stool" and "branks."
Sympathized with the emerging Quaker movement (a religion strongly resisted by the puritans).
Supported Anne Hutchinson (visited her in jail).
Dyer was convicted and banished in 1659.
Later returned and was hanged in Boston Commons
100 years later patriots met on the Commons to resist British rule
Feminist movement (19th Century)
Married Women's Property Acts
gave women certain property rights that had been denied
The issue of domestic violence led to the passage of laws in some parts of the county, as it was for the first time considered a crime.
History of Womens Prisons
Up until mid-19th century women were held in mens prisons, although in separate sections
When Newgate Prison was closed in the 1820s, the men were all eventually transferred to Auburn prison, but the women were sent to Bellevue Penitentiary in New York City.
Conditions were so horrible at Bellevue, that a women's annex was built at Mount Pleasant, New York, on the grounds of Sing Sing Prison, and opened in 1839
Prevailing view was that women offenders should he treated more harshly than their male counterparts as they had fallen further from grace
Women at Sing Sing Prison
Conditions of womens quarters were horrible - filth, overcrowding, and a great deal of sexual abuse by the all-male guards.
Indiana State Prison prostitution service was set up for the male inmates using female prisoners
First prison for women was opened in 1873 in Indiana.
National Congress on Penitentiary and Reformatory Discipline
Met for first time in 1879 in Cincinnati
called for separate womens prisons which would stress rehabilitation
Eventually this became the American Correctional Association
First prison for women was opened in 1873 in Indiana.
Womens Prison Reform Movement
Four factors led to this
increase in female crime after the war and an increase in women prisoners (mostly poor women charged with public order crimes)
the women's Civil War social service movement
Charity reform movements in general, many focusing on crime and stressing rehabilitation
Start of feminist movement that emphasized a separatist approach and a reinterpretation of the notion of the "fallen woman"
Custodial v. Reformatory Prisons
Custodial prisons for women 3 types
those that were either within or attached to male prisons (most common until separate womens prisons were opened)
prison farms in the South (Plantation prisons)
totally independent prisons.
Women sent to reformatories were convicted mostly of "public order" offenses.
Became the most dominant plan for women
relied on "domestic routines"
upon release, women were placed in "suitable" private homes as housekeepers
Followed the "cottage plan"
housing facilities would be like average family home
teach women to become homemakers.
Examples of Public order offenses resulting in prison sentences for women
"lewd and lascivious carriage," "stubbornness," "idle and disorderly conduct,", "serial premarital pregnancies," "keeping bad company," "adultery," and even "venereal disease.
One woman was sent to Albion Reformatory for five years on the charge of having had "unlawful sexual intercourse with young men and remaining at hotels with young men all night."
Another women was raped by her father (who made her pregnant) and was subsequently sentenced for "running around" with men while she was seven months pregnant
Separate but Equal Prevailed as reforms were aimed at white female offenders
Black women subjected to penal servitude
served as a replacement for the old slave plantations.
often leased out to local businesses such as farms, mines, and railroads to work on various kinds of "chain gangs."
Black women constituted more than 80% of all female prisoners in the South (see table 6.1)
Controlling Women's Bodies and Sexuality
"social purity" movement
behaviors of many immigrants shocked the moral sensibilities of the upper classes.
Result: the selective enforcement of various "morals offenses"
Typical statements of leading reformers
"Do you want immoral women to walk our streets, pollute society, endanger your households, menace the morals of your sons and daughters?
Do you think the women here described are fit to become mothers of American citizens? Shall foreign powers generate criminals and dump them on our shores?"
Women in the CJ System Today
q Increases in the no. of women somewhere in the cj system during the past ten years
q total: + 81% vs. + 45% among men
q on probation: up 76% vs. 37% for men
q in jail: up 89% vs. 49% for men
q in prison: up 108% vs. 77% for men
q on parole: up 105% vs. 31% for men
About one-half of the women in prison are black
Eight times more likely than white women to be incarcerated.
2/3 of the women on probation are white.
2/3 of women in prison are minorities.
Chances of going to prison
11 of every 1,000 women will be in prison at some point in their lives.
15 out of every 1,000 Hispanic women
36 of every 1,000 black women
5 of every 1,000 white women
incarceration rate for black women is almost 8x higher than for whites
Incarceration rate for women
1925 1975: ranged from 6 to 8 per 100,000
17 in 1985
45 in 1994
62 in 2003
numerical increase of 1,043% during past 30 years
During this time, the incarceration rate of women increased by 675 percent, compared to an increase of 316 percent for men.
The majority of women are in prisons more than 100 miles from their children, which helps account for infrequent visits.
Drugs as the culprit
1994 2003: drug arrests for women + 35% vs. 20% for men.
Drug offenders accounted for the largest source of the total growth among female inmates (36%) compared to male inmates (18%).
2004, almost one-third (31.5%) of all women prisoners were convicted of drug offenses
in federal prisons, this figure is 65%
in 1979 only 10% of women in state prison were drug offenders
Profile of Women in Prison
Grew up in single-parent home
Almost ½ had parent in prison
Over half sexually abused
About 70-80% have kids
More than 2 million kids have a parent in prison
Most did not work full-time - poverty wages
Many never had a checking account nor drivers license
60% regularly used drugs the prior to their latest offense
For 35%, this is their first felony conviction
Half as likely (17%) as men to be sentenced for a violent crime
Almost 40% convicted of drugs
36% convicted of a property crime
Some Stories to share
10-year-old girl whose mother is in prison and is dying.
The girl wrote to the sentencing judge I dont want my mommy to die in that place by herself. I want her to come home first so we can hug her and take lots of pictures together. Will you please let her come home before God takes her to His home? Please?
drug charges for women reflect their secondary status in the big world of illegal drug dealing
The story of Crissy illustrates this