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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay provides some of the general profiles of female inmates across the United States and how they differ from those for male inmates. The unique problems faced by women in prisons that can interfere with their adaptation to confinement (e.g., pregnancies, recent births, separation from children) are described. How histories of physical and sexual abuse can impact institutional adjustment is also discussed in conjunction with a review of “gender-responsive” programs and why some programs should not be used for both men and women. Possible reasons for the rising incarceration rates of women are also considered. Prison administrators should consider making changes to their policies, management styles, and programming or service provisions in order to better respond to women’s unique needs. The future of gender-responsiveness in corrections will likely entail an expanded recognition of gender-responsive needs and, eventually, the implementation of a wide range of services across all correctional systems.

Keywords: female inmates, women in prison, adaptation to confinement, gender-responsive programs, women’s unique needs

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