Various forms of punishments exercised during the 1700s were mutilation of all or some body parts, whippings, branding, and torture. Some people could be cast out or exiled from their neighborhood or country. The most serious crimes resulted in capital punishment. In addition, forced labor and the equivalent of prostitution was a common kind of punishment enforced on females. “Attitudes toward crime and punishment historically have been informed by prevailing ideas about class, gender, race, and nation” (“Crime and Punishment, Changing Attitude Toward, 2008).
Most crimes during these times were non-violent. Activities that would be considered criminal in the 1700s would not be considered a crime today. Most events and activities that led to punishment were more ethical in nature such as adultery. “There’s nothing in that environment that helps them with addiction or job skills or any of that,” said Jeanine Tobias of the women’s prison system. According to many women, their prison system is much more limited than their male counterparts. Many female ex-convicts describe the women’s prison system as “safe” (Warren, 2005).
This perception is correct in many ways. Many women’s prisons do not offer rehabilitation or post-release help as many male prisons do. Oftentimes, women commit non-violent crimes to be sent back to prison. Female ex-convicts are denied access to welfare and many other government programs. Women’s prison mirrors their male counterpart’s experience in the way that freedom is not granted. Women’s prison can vary depending on severity of crime or paternity status. Oftentimes, there are barracks type wards for pregnant or parents to live in within a women’s prison.
Housing conditions are comparable in both cases. There is, many reports of abuse within women’s prison. Often time’s reports of sexual or physical abuse are within the system. Whether or not these allegations are correct cannot accurately be found. However, with the reporting potential within the system, women do employ this system. In fact there are so many reported cases means that current standards within the women’s prison system are borderline harsh. Juvenile corrections facilities resemble female prisons in many ways. Oftentimes, juveniles do respect the system they are into.
Many juveniles cite that they receive services and commodities within the system that they cannot regularly attain outside the prison system. Services such as education, therapy, and square meals are factors for reform within the mind of the juvenile. Today many children within the system do come from downtrodden areas. The juveniles placed into correctional facilities are the necessary means to establish goals and contemplate their futures. Here the lines start to move away from each other when comparing women’s corrections to juvenile corrections.
As stated earlier, women do perceive prison as a safer environment than out in society. Juveniles also consider their system safer than their own realms of society. Services between the two systems vary greatly. Juveniles have many services that many women are not able to receive no matter how severe their crimes. Hearings are held to re-evaluate the structure of the women’s correctional system. Men, women, and juvenile correctional facilities do share many of the same traits. Each system is to rehabilitate and reform convicts to reintegrate back into society after their sentences end.
These systems work to varying degrees. Oftentimes, perceptions of their environment do make or break the system. Many men see their system as beneficial in many ways. Services for rehabilitation are during and after their sentences are complete. However, the rate of these services varies greatly from prison to prison. Juvenile corrections offer more services. Education, reform, and rehabilitation services are mandatory in many of their facilities. Because of this trend, juvenile offenders see the worth of their system. Often citing these facilities as beneficial and safe (Neustratter, 2002).
Women however do not claim the same respect other systems receive. Although many women consider their system safe; they also cite that these facilities do not offer the necessary services they need for rehabilitation and reform. Abuse within their system is damaging. The women’s system has the highest rate of reported abuse among all the prison systems in the United States. In the end, the women’s system can be either normal or abnormal. The perception is different. Whether or not this perception is true, a review process obviously means that there is a problem within the women’s correction system that does need to be addressed.