Tema 10 (2016)Apunte Inglés
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GENDER & PRISON
Historically, prisons and prison regimes have almost invariably been designed for the majority male prison
- architecture of prisons
- security procedures
- family contact
- work and training
Also, often alternatives to prison fail to take into account the specific requirements of women offenders
WOMEN IN PRISON
- More than 625,000 women and girls are held in prisons around the world
- Women are between 2-9% (on average) in national prison populations. However, their numbers are growing
every year, and at a faster rate than men.
- It is estimated that millions of children worldwide have a parent in prison and tens of thousands are living in prison with their mother.
- As women and girls represent less than a tenth of the prison population, often their characteristics and needs remain unacknowledged and unmet by CJS - In Thailand, in mid-2005, women prisoners comprised 17.2 % of the overall prison population - The ratio of female prisoners convicted of drug-related offences had risen to 88 % of the total female prison population.
- In England and Wales, between 1995 and 2005, women sentenced to immediate custody increased 69% WOMEN AND MEN IN PRISON 1. The circumstances in which women commit criminal offences are different from men: - Petty (=pequeñas), non-violent offences - a result of discrimination and deprivation (husbands or partners, families or the community) - In some countries women are imprisoned for “status offences” (adultery, prostitution, etc.) - In others, women may be imprisoned on the grounds of ‘protection from honor crimes’ or to ensure they will testify against their rapist in court 2. Economic dependency (on male family members) 3. Women offenders are disproportionately likely to have been victims of domestic or sexual abuse 4. During the criminal justice process, women are at risk of abuse – from police, prison officers and fellow prisoners - threats of rape, touching, ‘virginity testing’, being stripped naked, invasive body searches, insults and humiliations of a sexual nature or even rape - trade sex for favours or preferential treatment 5. Wider impact of prison when women are mothers - women who are the primary or sole carer of children; consequences for the children 6. Women in prison face greater stigma than men - In many countries husbands rarely visit their partners - Many women are rejected by their communities and even by their families when they return home 7. Fewer women prisons also mean greater distances from their homes and families - disadvantages in receiving visits and increased isolation.
EQUALITY AS DIFFERENCE… It should take account of the fact that women commit less serious offences than men, they are less dangerous, and the social costs of imprisonment are higher than men's and that differential treatment for men and women within the penal system is justifiable: "Equal treatment does not mean identical treatment, whether for women, or for members of cultural or ethnic minorities". (Prison Reform Trust, 2000).
WOMEN IN PRISON BASIC FACTS - The number of women in prison: 5% female, 95% male - 34% no previous convictions, while only 15% of male had no previous convictions - Only 38% of women receive a sentence of over 6 months WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT WOMEN IN PRISON? THE CORSTON REPORT (2007): RECOMMENDATIONS BANGKOK RULES The Bangkok Rules, also known as "The United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Noncustodial Measures for Women Offenders", is a set of rules focused on the needs of women offenders and prisoners adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2010. The Bangkok Rules is the first set of rules geared towards the treatment of women prisoners. It supplements the existing international standards on the treatment of prisoners, particularly the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, which applies to all prisoners regardless of gender and the Tokyo Rules on alternatives to imprisonment.
It acknowledge that treating women offenders in the same way as men will not achieve gender equality women in the CJS do have gender- specific characteristics and needs This rules address the needs of: - Women under arrest and awaiting trial - Women under sentence - Children in prison with their parent - Male prisoners and offenders who are fathers This rules cover, among others: - admission procedures - healthcare - humane treatment (the training of prison staff) - search procedures and visiting rights children who accompany their mothers into prison rehabilitation programs ALTERNATIVES TO PRISON Rule 57: “gender-specific options for diversionary measures and pretrial and sentencing alternatives shall be developed within Member States’ legal systems, taking account of the history of victimization of many women offenders and their caretaking responsibilities” Ex. restorative justice programs for social reintegration of women; counseling services with on-site childcare facilities Rule 64: non-custodial sentences for pregnant women and women with dependent children should be “preferred where possible and appropriate” - custodial sentences when the offence is serious or violent or the woman represents a continuing danger, and after taking into account the best interests of the child or children Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1469 (2000), on mothers and babies in prison, adopted on 30 June 2000, also recommended the development and use of community-based penalties for mothers of young children and the avoidance of the use of prison custody 2007, Constitutional Court of South Africa - “the best interests of the child are paramount in all matters concerning the child on sentencing of primary caregivers of young children.” - “… all three boys rely on M. as their primary source of emotional security, and that imprisonment of M. would be emotionally, developmentally, physically, materially, educationally and socially disadvantageous to them.
- … should M. be incarcerated, the children would suffer: loss of their source of maternal and emotional support; loss of their home and familiar neighborhood; disruption in school routines, possible problems in transporting to and from school; impact on their healthy developmental process; and separation of the siblings.” WOMEN OFFENDERS IN THE COMMUNITY: 9 LESSONS (UK) 1. Be women-only 2. Integrate offenders and non-offenders 3. Foster women’s empowerment 4. Utilise what is known about women’s effective learning styles 5. Take a holistic and practical stance 6. Facilitate links with mainstream agencies 7. Allow women to return to ‘top-ups’ and continued support 8. Ensure that women have a supportive milieu or mentor 9. Provide practical help with transport and childcare HEALTH ISSUES Women prisoners have greater primary healthcare needs in comparison to men - health conditions untreated before admission due to discrimination in accessing adequate healthcare services in the community - Typical background of women prisoners many are infected with STDs, including HIV and hepatitis.
- 80% of women prisoners have an identifiable mental illness and one in ten will have attempted suicide before being imprisoned, according to the (WHO) o Mental health, substance abuse and the treatment and care of other diseasesIn England and Wales women in prison are ten times more likely to harm themselves than men in prison.
- Reproductive healthcare Women prisoners should have the same access to preventative healthcare, such as breast cancer screening, as offered to women in the community.
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH The shackling of women during childbirth remains widespread in some countries, including in the United States.
Bangkok Rules - the use of instruments of restraint on women during labour, during birth and immediately after birth is prohibited - There is a prohibition of solitary confinement or disciplinary segregation for pregnant women, women with infants and breast feeding mothers.
SEARCHES (PAT-DOWN SEARCHES) Women face more risk of abuse during pat-down searches and during strip or invasive body searches Bangkok Rules - searches on women must be carried out by female staff - Alternative screening methods should be developed.
VIOLENCE - Women face high risk of rape, sexual assault and humiliation in prison by prison staff and other prisoners o Ex. improper touching during searches, and being watched when dressing, showering or using the toilet.
- Greater impact of, for example, strip-searches on women (frequent previous sexual assault) - Abuse or exploitation by prison staff little opportunity of escaping from the abuser because of fears of retaliation + stigmatisation of sexual abuse “For instance, [male staff] may offer women special privileges or goods otherwise hard to obtain. Equally, they may threaten to deny them access to their entitlements. It is crucial to bear in mind that under such circumstances it can never be argued that a woman has ‘consented’ to a sexual relationship, even if this appears to be the case.” (UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, 2008) VISIT RIGHTS In many prisons invasive body searches after visiting time discouraging from receiving visits.
In some countries, conjugal visits are - not allowed to women in prison or - more restricted than for male prisoners Since there are few prisons for women distances from their homes and families - visitors should be allowed to have longer visits if they come from remote locations MOTHERS IN PRISON - Most countries babies and young children may remain in prison with their mothers (until they are 2 or 4 years old).
- Prison services must include services for children in prison with their mothers medical, physical or psychological - Special provisions for mothers prior to admission organize alternative childcare for children left outside Example: In two mother and baby units out of the 13 which exist in the Russian Federation , convicted women prisoners live in joint accommodation with their babies and may do so until the baby reaches the age of three (with some flexibility if the mother is due for release within a year).
CHILDREN IN PRISON Bangkok Rules stipulate that: - Non-custodial alternatives to custody should be applied wherever possible if someone facing imprisonment has sole caring responsibilities.
- The decision as to whether a child is to be separated from its mother (or father) must be based on individual assessments and the best interests of the child.
- Children in prison with their mother (or father) should never be treated as prisoners (no punishments) - Their experience must be as close as possible to life for a child outside.
- Children must be taken into account at all stages of a parent’s contact with the CJS.
- Mothers/fathers must be allowed as many opportunities as possible to see the children who are imprisoned with them.
REHABILITATION Female prisoners often detained in facilities that don’t correspond to their classification where fewer or no programs are offered with regard to rehabilitation and reintegration Ex: In a women’s prison in Thailand with 4,000 prisoners, all were classified as high- risk, even though the prison director said that only six prisoners actually met the criteria They usually have few opportunities for transfer and little access to a true minimum security institution - Rehabilitation programs should be designed and made available in prisons specifically for women prisoners, gender-specific needs - address the underlying factors that led to their offence - should include skills which are not traditionally considered as appropriate for women due to gender stereotyping REHABILITATION AND RELEASE Women are likely to suffer particular discrimination after release from prison, due to social stereotypes - pre-release preparation and post-release support policies and programs address the gender-specific needs of women offenders Rule 45: Prison authorities shall utilize options such as home leave, open prisons, halfway houses and community-based programmes and services to the maximum possible extent for women prisoners, to ease their transition from prison to liberty, to reduce stigma and to re-establish their contact with their families at the earliest possible stage.
LGBT PEOPLE AND PRISON Risk of sexual assault 67% of LGBT prisoners in California report being assaulted while in prison (NCLR, 2008) Vulnerability some prisons separate them from other prisoners Transgender people Genitalia-based placement even for transgender women with breasts may be placed in male prisons Ex. Italy: Treatment of transgender prisoners ...