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Jailhouse Lawyers Manual (Columbia University) 1 Women

Jailhouse Lawyers Manual (Columbia University) 1 Women

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Published by Peggy Plews

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Published by: Peggy Plews on Oct 02, 2013
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 A J
AILHOUSE
L
AWYER
S
M
ANUAL
 
Chapter 41:Special Issues of Women Prisoners
Columbia Human Rights Law ReviewNinth Edition 2011
 
 
L
EGAL
D
ISCLAIMER
 
 A Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual 
is written and updated by members of the
Columbia Human Rights Law Review 
. The law prohibits us from providing any legal advice to prisoners. This information is not intendedas legal advice or representation nor should you consider or rely upon it as such. Neither the
JLM 
nor anyinformation contained herein is intended to or shall constitute a contract between the
JLM 
and any reader,and the
JLM 
does not guarantee the accuracy of the information contained herein. Additionally, your use of the
JLM 
should not be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship with the
JLM 
staff or anyone atColumbia Law School. Finally, while we have attempted to provide information that is up-to-date and useful,because the law changes frequently, we cannot guarantee that all information is current.
 
CHAPTER 41S
PECIAL
I
SSUES OF
W
OMEN
P
RISONERS
*
 
A.
 
An Overview of Women in the Criminal Justice System
Over 200,000 women are currently imprisoned in the United States, a number that has grown more than800% over the past three decades.
1
By comparison, the male prison population grew by 416% over the sametime period.
2
Rates of incarceration for women vary significantly by region. Oklahoma has the highestfemale imprisonment rate at 134 per 100,000 women, and Massachusetts has the lowest at 13 per 100,000women.
3
 More women than ever before are currently in prison as a result of drug offenses. From 1999 to 2008,arrests of women for drug violations increased by 19% compared to just a 10% increase for men.
4
 Furthermore, female prisoners are more likely than male prisoners to have histories of physical or sexualabuse.
5
As of 2004, 73% of women in state prisons, compared to 55% of men, had suffered symptoms of mental illness and/or received treatment from a mental health professional within the previous year.
6
 These statistics show just a few of the ways that incarceration can be a different experience for femaleprisoners than it is for male prisoners. Consequently, this Chapter is devoted to the unique concerns andlegal rights of women prisoners. Note that this Chapter focuses on the issues that only or primarily affectwomen. Many of your concerns as a prisoner are discussed in the general
JLM 
chapters because they affectboth female and male prisoners. Therefore, you should read any relevant chapters in the
JLM 
that mayapply to your situation in addition to the relevant sections in this Chapter.Part B discusses the issue of equal protection in programs and services provided to both male and femaleprisoners. Part C supplements Chapter 23 of the
JLM 
,
“ 
 Your Right to Adequate Medical Care,” and focuseson medical care for women prisoners, including the right to basic gynecological care, abortions, treatment forHIV, and resources and treatment for pregnant women. For general information about the rights of incarcerated parents, please see Chapter 33 of the
JLM 
, “Rights of Incarcerated Parents.” Part D focuses onprivacy concerns, searches, sexual harassment, and sexual assault and rape. Your right to be free fromassaults and illegal body searches is also discussed in
JLM 
,
 
Chapter 24, “Your Right to be Free from Assaultby Prison Guards and Other Prisoners,” and Chapter 25, “Your Right to Be Free from Illegal BodySearches
.” 
Part E discusses the growing popularity of alternative sentencing options such as drug treatmentprograms, and explains why programs designed for men might not be the most effective programs forwomen. Part F provides a detailed description of clemency proceedings and how you can petition forclemency as a battered woman.
7
 
* This Chapter is based on previous versions by Rena Stern, Michelle Maloney, Rachel Wilgoren, Melissa Rothstein, andShelley Inglis. Special thanks to Y. Rupa Rao and Lisa Freeman.1.Women’s Prison Association Institute on Women and Criminal Justice,
Quick Facts: Women and Criminal Justice 2009 
(Sept. 2009),
available at 
http://66.29.139.159/pdf/Quick%20Facts%20Women%20and%20CJ_Sept09.pdf (last visited Jan. 25, 2010).2.Women’s Prison Association Institute on Women and Criminal Justice,
Quick Facts: Women and Criminal Justice 2009 
(Sept. 2009),
available at 
http://66.29.139.159/pdf/Quick%20Facts%20Women%20and%20CJ_Sept09.pdf (last visited Jan. 25, 2010).3.Women’s Prison Association Institute on Women and Criminal Justice,
Quick Facts: Women and Criminal Justice 2009 
(
Sept.
2009),
available at 
http://66.29.139.159/pdf/Quick%20Facts%20Women%20and%20CJ_Sept09.pdf (last visited Jan. 25, 2010).4. Women’s Prison Association Institute on Women and Criminal Justice,
Quick Facts: Women and Criminal Justice 2009 
(
Sept.
2009),
available at 
http://66.29.139.159/pdf/Quick%20Facts%20Women%20and%20CJ_Sept09.pdf (last visited Jan. 25, 2010).5.Women in Prison Project, Correctional Association of New York,
Women in Prison Fact Sheet 
(Apr. 2009),
available at 
http://www.correctionalassociation.org/publications/download/wipp/factsheets/Wome_in_Prison_Fact_Sheet_ 2009_FINAL.pdf (last visited Jan. 25, 2010).6.Women in Prison Project, Correctional Association of New York,
Women in Prison Fact Sheet 
(Apr. 2009),
available at 
http://www.correctionalassociation.org/publications/download/wipp/factsheets/Wome_in_Prison_Fact_Sheet_ 2009_FINAL.pdf (last visited Jan. 25, 2010).7.While Part G focuses on clemency for battered women, any person petitioning for clemency can use theseprocedures. Other possibilities for release are discussed in
JLM 
, Chapter 34, “Temporary Release Programs,” Chapter35, “Getting out Early: Conditional & Early Release,” and Chapter 36, “Parole.”

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