Essay Critical Analysis of Women Behind Bars

Words: 4467
Pages: 18

More and more women-mothers, grandmothers, wives, daughters, and sisters are doing hard prison time all across the United States. Many of them are facing the prospect of years, decades, even lifetimes behind bars. Oddly, there’s been little public discussion about the dramatic increase of women in the prison system. What exactly is happening here, and why?
This paper will be a critical analysis of the book, “Women Behind Bars: The Crisis of Women in the U.S. Prison System. This paper will


Journalist Silja Talvi’s Women Behind Bars: The Crisis of Women in The U.S Prison System is an overview of issues affecting incarcerated women. The goal of the book Women
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(Talvi, 2007) Many of the women that in state or federal prisons are first-time, non violent offenders sentenced on drug conspiracy charges. These women are serving far longer sentences than most first-time offender rapists, child molesters, or even murdered convicted of second degree murder or aggravated manslaughter. Furthermore, to a far greater degree than men, women come into the system with histories of sexual, physical abuse, domestic violence, rape, and mental illness. In this sense it is believed that our country is in crisis. Undoubtedly, because there are so many women locked up, there are a plethora of problems that incarcerated women face on a daily basis while in prison. Some of these problems include sexual assault and misconduct, medical neglect, deficient mental health treatment, and also discrimination based on gender, race and sexual orientation.
Experiences of extreme violence and sexual abuse in women’s prisons are far worse and far too common than most American’s realize. In the United States, sexual assault by guards in women’s prisons is so notorious and widespread that it has been described as “an institutionalized component of punishment behind prison walls” (Davis, 1998). “Today it is estimated that at least 40% of guards in women’s prisons are men. In some female prisons, the majority of employees are men.” (Talvi, 2007) In these kinds of settings,