Indeed, the needs of men and women—particularly in the context of the correction system—are vastly different. While the numbers of women prisoners as compared to male prisons remain relatively low, rising percentages cause concern, and this fact should produce questions about whether the criminal justice system is doing enough specifically for women. Additionally, the widespread inclusion of women in positions working within the criminal justice system shows progress in finding ways to include all people in the process of improving society’s laws and enforcement. The criminal justice system does not provide female offenders and employees with the kind of treatment best suited to them; instead, men and women are treated as interchangeable, which leads to negative effects on women and society.
The current practice of the criminal justice system in the United States offers minimal differences in the handling of female offenders as compared to male offenders. Nevertheless, they are often arrested for minor crimes and are subject to higher rates of physical and sexual abuse (Braithwaite, Treadwell, & Arriola, 2008). Also, women in correctional facilities are far more susceptible to mental health problems; for instance, a recent study found nearly 73% of women in state prisons showed symptoms of mental health disorders, as compared to 12% of females and 8% of men in the general population (Covington, 2007).
According to Braithwaite, Treadwell and Arriola (2008), women are grouped together across a diverse range of different crimes. This is because women prisoner populations are significantly smaller than male populations. Therefore, women convicted of very minor crimes find themselves in the same facility as women convicted of serious crime. In contrast, male prisoners are assigned to one of many options of facility, depending on an array