Gender Inequality In Prison

The topic of inequality has become a pressing theme of today’s society. In the past few years, and even months, discussions based on inequality typically focus on the basic differences between the ways men and women are treated. However, we tend to avoid conversations about the severe gender discrimination facing those on the outskirts of society, especially those in prison. Although there are still the stereotypical imbalances present between genders in the prison system, the favoritism men receive in those situations is so much more than meets the eye. Women in prison endure far greater injustices compared to men, based on the sole factor that they are women. Some of these injustices include selective treatment, violence, rape, and corrupt …show more content…
Even within prison, women are expected to conform to particular female stereotypes, and if they do not, they are punished. This is where the argument that women are treated better than men originates. From the outside, it might appear that some women receive greater privileges than men, however, that is a surface level observation. A study by Ilene H. Nagel and Barry L. Johnson titled, The Role of Gender in a Structured Sentencing System, explained that “law enforcement officials reserve chivalrous treatment for middle and upper class women who conform to gender stereotypes” (188). This means that women are not free to act as they wish and have no chance at equal treatment unless they act as a “traditional woman.” Stereotypes such as these propose a greater struggle for women in prison who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) since they do not conform to the established norms. However, it can also impact straight heterosexual women who defy their role as a mother. Further studies have proven that women who are sentenced for role disobedience offenses, such as child abuse or abandonment, fail to benefit from paternalistic treatment (Nagel, 189). Paternalistic treatment is a major issue within prison inequality because it is very selective and removes freedom from the women involved. “Paternalism equates women with children, viewing them as incapable of assessing information and making responsible decisions…and can harm female offenders in more direct ways” (Nagel, 189). It is true that this method of treatment can result in shorter sentencing for some females, but they are not even close to making up the majority. Instead, paternalistic treatment damages the female identity by forcing them to behave submissively and stay silent when their rights are infringed

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