Black Women In Prison

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The government creates legislation to hold these women back further economically; the policy changes the government puts in place creates a lack of resources, which makes the transition from prison life to “free life” more difficult for black women than it would be for other groups. An example of this legislation is the “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996”, because it is harder for women with mental health or drug abuse issues to access this financial help. In order to receive benefits, one has to prove their sobriety, when, as mentioned earlier, the prison system fails to rehabilitate it’s drug abusers (Freudenberg). This leaves previously incarcerated black women feeling targeted and isolated. Prisons…show more content…
In the prison system, inmates rely on prison guards for essential goods, which is why the women feel they have no choice but to suffer their abuse. Because these women feel helpless, there are no truly accurate statistics that can tell the specific amount of black women abused in prison. The lack of information is also because most jails don’t keep proper records of the various abuses women report (Isaac, Lockhart, Williams). This proves that these prisons do not care about the well being of these women, nor do they care that the sexual offenders are properly punished.
The women that do try to report prison guards end up even more damaged when their violators go unpunished. In a small study done on sexual abuse in US prisons, of the complaints that women filed, only 18% of male prison guards ended up with some type of punishment (Isaac, Lockhart, Williams). This lack of discipline for brutal crimes against black women sends a message to black women in prison is that they are invaluable. It “perpetuates the degrading images of black women as ‘unnatural, dirty, sick, and sinful’”
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When massive amounts of black women are put into prisons with women who carry infectious diseases, it puts the well-being of women of color at risk (Freudenberg). Incarcerated black women face many health problems; research shows that compared to other underprivileged women, “they have higher rates of recent substance use problems, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and other sexually transmitted diseases, and mental health problems” (Freudenberg). In 2004, almost 73% of women in prisons had a mental health problem, or symptoms of a mental disorder, compared to 55% of incarcerated men (Incarcerated Women). These various health problems suffered by black women in prison are something they have to endure for the rest of their

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