That, however, does not mean that women are more likely to be referred to psychiatric counseling than men. It appears that, as the number of female inmates continues to increase, prisons and jails fail to catch up with the pace of change in inmate demographics. Like many years ago, the criminal justice system lacks resources needed to meet women’s health needs. The corrections system continues to ignore the health care needs of female prisoners, turning mental health complications into the most viable explanation to women’s criminal acts.
That women-offenders are more likely than incarcerated men to display the signs and symptoms of mental health complications has been abundantly established. The current state of research provides a wealth of information concerning the most serious mental health challenges faced by incarcerated women. Understanding the mental health trends in women offenders is crucial for the development of more relevant criminal justice frameworks and detecting the stereotyping and bias affecting female inmates in the corrections system (Freudenberg 2002). According to Covington (2007), when it comes to mental health, 73% of female inmates in state prisons display the signs of mental health disorders, compared to only 12% among the general population. 75% of those who meet the criteria for mental health disorders also display the symptoms of substance dependence or abuse (Covington 2007). This is probably why the largest percentage changes in delinquency have been noted in female youth (Cruise, Marsee, Dandreaux & DePrato 2007; Snyder & Sickmund 2006). However, the link between mental health complications and crimes committed by female offenders are beyond the scope of this discussion. More important is the current state of mental health in women-prisoners and its implications for the criminal justice processes affecting the corrections system. In this sense, the results ...Show more