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Prisons serve an identical function for female inmates as they do for male inmates; they are instruments of social control. However, the imprisonments of females in the U.S. are mothers; many have health, mental health issues and service needs. This paper will examine how women inmates experience a more severe extent of social exclusion and tribulations than men, especially high levels of cruelty and domestic violence along with mental health problems. According to Cloyes, K., et al., (2010) women and persons with mental illness now constitute the fastest growing segment of the U.S. prison population. One of the main public health alarms facing correctional systems at present is HIV/AIDS. Even though no segment of the inmates are exempt to this infection, a startling number of female inmates have tested positive for HIV at soaring rates, more than male inmates. Women inmates have different needs and problems concerning Tx than male inmates, and the impact of these inmates on correctional health care services signifies a possible serious issue facing correctional managers and correctional health service administrators.
The number of women in the criminal justice system has escalated dramatically, and although women inmates are not as likely to be imprisonedincarcerated /in·car·cer·at·ed/ (in-kahr´ser-at?ed) imprisoned; constricted; subjected to incarceration.
Confined or trapped, as a hernia.
..... Click the link for more information. as men (one out of ten inmates in U.S. prisons are female), female inmates are three times more at risk to become HIV-infected than imprisoned men. The rising numbers of HIV-infected women in prison is due in part to the increased numbers of women who are imprisoned. According to the National Minority AIDS Council the contrast between incarcerated women and incarcerated men is also stark. At the end of the year 2000, women state prisoners were more than 60% more likely than incarcerated men to be HIV positive.
Hutton et al. (2001) argues that HIV risk behaviors were highly prevalent among women prisoners before incarceration. Rates of current and lifetime PTSD, major depression, and dysthymic disorder were also high. A lifetime history of PTSD was associated with prostitution and receptive anal sex and may have contributed to the high rates of risky sexual behaviors. Targeted HIV risk reduction efforts among women should include evaluation for PTSD; furthermore, women diagnosed with PTSD should be evaluated for HIV sexual risk behaviors. According to Hollibaugh's (2000), article the rate of HIV infection is generally higher for women than for men within the same state or county correctional system, and incarcerated women usually face an array of difficulties and risks, including a history of drug use, high-risk sex work, and sexual abuse. In a recent study of 125 incarcerated women, the HIV infection rate was 16%, and 58% reported a history of sexual abuse.
Despite this increase and the increased need, the criminal justice system does not take into account the special needs of female inmates - delivering second-hand services and giving insufficient or improper training, treatment and educational programs. A lot of women on the social, and economic margins attempting to survive outside legitimate enterprises, which potentially can lead to contact with law enforcement. In view of their gender, women are at greater risk in encountering sexual abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence. The majority of women, most common pathways to crime are based on survival (of violence and poverty) and substance abuse. Female inmates have past histories of sexual and/or physical abuse that can materialize as a main root of subsequent criminal behavior, and addiction. The imprisonment of any individual has a "ripple effect" on any individual, family, and community, but when a woman is imprisoned, the interruption normally has a direct impact on her minor children. Campbell (2005) writes that an estimated, 79% of incarcerated women leave behind minor children. When they are released from prison, women face complex challenges as they go throughout their reentry process. Among the barriers they are confronted with are financial struggles, finding safe and drug-free housing, a history of substance abuse, mental health problems, the stigma of being labeled an "ex-con," and, obtaining employment (often lacking skills and a sporadic work history). Yet, countless female ex-felons find themselves both homeless and/or in surroundings that do not encourage sober living. With insufficient support in the community to assist in guiding them through the many systems and agencies, many fall back into a life of drug use and criminal behavior. Almost all of the women in the prison system are mothers, and a significant factor for them is reunification with their children. According to Brown, Melchior, and Huba (1999) the above mentioned refers to an additional "level of burden," as part of their parole conditions it is required that these women have safe housing, economically independent, medical needs, and this also includes the needs of their children. "There is little or no coordination among the systems a reentering woman must navigate in the community, and there are often conflicting expectations that increase the risk of relapse and recidivism" (Covington, 2002).
Prisons are home to the highest cluster of HIV affected women in the US. As noted in the introduction. Since women are a minority of those living with HIV, and a minority among the US prison population, it is very easy to neglect their needs, and/or try to offer them interventions designed for men. Except, women need distinct services, services that distinguish their life circumstances that caused them to come in contact with the criminal justice system, and that put them at risk for HIV/AIDS. There are model programs (gender-responsive) that are helpful to women without being overly complicated or expensive; they take a more "holistic" approach to HIV/AIDS than the usual programs that are designed for men.
These same programs offer reliable of services and relevant factors are taken into consideration. There are significant differences among men and women in their pathways to criminal behavior. Correctional imprison programs that do not consider gender differences will not be effective for women, and may even be harmful. Well thought-of programs recognize that female offenders' treatment has to be effective and safe. Gender-responsive programs acknowledge the importance of the provision of female-only services.