Domestic Violence In Prison

Improved Essays
For the small percentage of women of color who end up in prison for violent offenses, this is usually due to domestic violence within homes or relationships, in which these women must physically defend themselves and their children from their attackers. “Socioeconomic status and cultural background significantly influence the impact of domestic violence,” and determines who is more susceptible to becoming victims and who has access to protective resources (Solinger et al. 265). Often times, these women have grown accustomed and sometimes desensitized to abusive environments, and may have even experienced it while growing (Women Behind Bars). They are ultimately criminalized for defending themselves against physical abuse and once inside prison, …show more content…
Even now, states refuse to acknowledge just how prevalent domestic violence occurs against women, and “all states have expanded police power to arrest in domestic violence cases without witnessing the crime or requiring victims to file complaints” Kathleen J Ferraro quotes in Neither Angels or Demons (46). They are then again subjected to this violence in prison, as rape and sexual assaults by guards are a common exploitation of power.
Incarceration of women of color increased rapidly in the 1980s, shortly after the “war on drugs” was declared by Richard Nixon, which specifically targeted poor, uneducated, communities of color, referred to as “no 1980 war on poverty, unemployment, racism, miseducation, and sexism” (Collins 44). This 1971 initiation was to punish and segregate these individuals the state deemed criminals through stereotypical and racialized profiling, rather than providing rehabilitation and assistance services, since drug dependency was not considered a disease,
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During labor, women are often strapped to the delivery table, and are denied the right to have family present during the birth of the child. Once the baby is born, they are quickly taken away from their mothers and often put directly into foster care, making it almost impossible for the mother to ever regain custody, as a now convicted felon. Not only does the mother then suffer severe psychological effects, but the child does as well, growing up without their mother. These effects can transform into other detrimental effects, experienced legally and financially. This increases the child’s chance of eventually ending up in prison, like their mothers (Women Behind Bars). The public’s stereotypical view of the black mother as a “sexually licentious Jezebel, the family demolishing matriarch, the devious welfare queen” makes them unwilling to help these women regain custody of their children and are even unwilling to help these children themselves survive, Dorothy E. Roberts states in her article, “Prison, Foster Care, and the Systemic Punishment of Black Mothers” (1479). If children of incarcerated mothers are fortunate to be taken in by family members or their fathers, they still suffer tremendous difficulty in

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