Drug Policy and Women’s Imprisonment

The data collected by the author of this paper through research procedures is indeed a strong proof that the Drug Policies of US have largely contributed to the incarceration of women in US. It is a fact that the country is facing a big change in rug-war programs. Hence, the policies towards women who commit crime against the said laws are considered by many justice enthusiasts to be vaguely fair. There are different trends occurring nowadays in prisons with regards to the drug policy. One of these trends is the claim of many experts that justice system in the country is mixed with social and racial discrimination.

Some statistics show the unfair treatment of cases with women coming from various races and classes in the society. The policies simply post an unfair decision for many inmates who were incarcerated simply because of the fact that they lack finding favor in the ‘eyes of the law’. As mentioned earlier, in the statistics compiled by CSDP, it could be determined that black women have higher rates of being incarcerated compared to that of the white Americans, as well as those in rural areas. Hence, this fact shows the existence of racial discrimination within the field of justice implication in US.

As quoted from the journal referred to in earlier chapters: “The new imprisonment figures document the continuing dramatic impact of incarceration on African American communities. African Americans males are incarcerated at more than six times the rate of white males and Hispanic males more than double the rate. One of every eight black males in the age group 25-29 is incarcerated on any given day. For women, black females are incarcerated at four times the rate of white females and Hispanic females at nearly double the rate.

In historical perspective, the 910,000 African Americans incarcerated today are more than nine times the number of 98,000 in 1954, the year of the Brown v. Board of Education decision…. Racial disparities in incarceration vary broadly among the states. In 7 states, African Americans are incarcerated at more than 10 times the rate of whites. These states are: Iowa – 13. 6, Vermont – 12. 5, New Jersey – 12. 4, Connecticut – 12. 0, Wisconsin – 10. 7, North Dakota – 10. 1, and South Dakota – 10. 0.

In addition, the lowest black rate of incarceration (851 in Hawaii) is greater than that of the highest white rate (740 in Oklahoma). ” (“New Incarceration Figures: Thirty-Three Consecutive Years of Growth”) The said quotes from the journal and the graphical representations help the readers understand the fact that in many ways, racial preferences have been used by not only women, but also men, who were supposed to be incarcerated as a means by which they are to be considered free from their err. The constancy of the reports directly points out that the favor of the law in US is directed to the white Americans.

This means that the unfair treatment of supposed inmates have directly contributed to the fact that the policies are not strongly implemented. When it comes to social class, money is the way by which many supposed ‘in mates’ are able to escape the sentence. However, being able to bail for their parole or the case as it is does not help in the rehabilitation of the drug abuse offenders. On the contrary, it simply gives them the chance of being more prone to addiction as they remain free to do what they want. Another concern about the incarceration of women in the U.

S. is how the social view on women affects the imprisonment rate in connection to the drug policy. Every society has norms. In some cases, deviance can lead to negative consequences. That is what happening in the women of United States. The following section will explain this further. 3. 1 The Issues on Social View of Women Women are supposed to be mild in manners, obedient to the law and are expected to become role models of the society. However, the changing systems in the society have driven some women to face life in a different manner.

The depression and the stresses that life brings have in many ways contributed to the growing anxiety among women. As a result, many simply resort to drug addiction. Hence, the policies produced by the US localities have mainly been based upon the fact that women are viewed o be less prone to using drugs compared to men. However, as years continue to pass, statistical reports show that these views are at many times inclined to the opposite. Psychologists do claim that women are the ones more prone to depression and are also highly affected by life’s anxieties.

However, women are also viewed as the ones having the most access to social connections making it easier for them to face life’s challenges. Hence, it is quite contradictory that the results of the surveys are inclined on the opposite aspect of viewing women in the society. How is this possible? It is not also hidden from the society that among the genders, women are the most vulnerable sector of the society when it comes to giving in to the temptation and peer pressure. At times, this vulnerability leads to dreadful result of drug addiction.

Peer pressure, especially among young women has been determined to be among the strongest influence received by those who fall on the trap of drug addiction. Another journal written by Geiger and Fischer entitled “Female Repeat Offenders Negotiating Identity, “there are women who are only trapped in using or pushing drugs”(4). In this journal, it has also been noted that in a society where a woman’s role is expected to be mother-like, somebody who could provide both the emotional needs and the growth needs of her children and her family, a woman is somewhat pressured to meet these requirements.

While coping up with the recent changes to her roles as the family’s light, the adjustments may bring grave longing for a way to get on with their lives. The trend of having single mothers, rearing their children alone, while working is already a normal scene in the society. Thus, those women who are faced with these challenges aside from the fact of being poor and less fortunate in attaining education or other trainings that would entitle them to at least a good job, which would help them bring up their children, have a hard time dealing with life.

Certainly, from these situations, several women spring out to be among those who are enticed without having a chance of landing in at least a good job. Hence, these women are the ones who likely resort to prostitution, drug pushing and in drug abuse. Moreover, when the said women get addicted to drugs, most of them have a hard time discontinuing the addiction. In the study made by psychologists, Denis Coon claimed, “women are more prone to having been addicted to drugs once they were able to try it for the first time.

Compared to that of the men who were observed to have been addicted for some time to drugs, women who have been enticed in the vice have had a hard time controlling themselves away from addiction” (Miller) Even though the society expects the women to have a greater role in developing families compared to that of the role of the men in rearing a family, doing such responsibilities may as well be treated to be next to impossible when drug addiction comes in the way. What about unmarried young women? Most likely, being a young woman is a stage, which is faced with so much curiosity and changes.

However, at times, this curiosity springs out in a different way and things get worse over time as the results of addiction is already seen in the woman. As said earlier, once a woman is addicted, it usually results to continuous and hard-to-break chain of addiction. As a result, women who are under this situation chain themselves to the grasp of drug abuse in their entire lives. On the contrary, there are also some young women who are forced to use drugs to make a living. Some of them are found in entertainment bars where prostitution is obvious and a must to be able to earn some money.

Although at most times, women really do not opt to use drugs. However, the circumstances they are involved with drives them to resort to abusing drugs to be able to forget their worries and the emotional pains which they usually encounter in their daily lives. As mentioned by Geiger and Fischer in their journal, “Drugs were taken as medication to forget the abuse and freeze the negative feelings invading them; drug addiction had often prevented the offenders from going insane and relieved their anxiety, grief and sorrow, although it also had a major drawback, namely, the indiscriminate loss of feeling.

A feeling that is mostly in connection with their relationship with their children and their entire family as well” (Fischer) This factor of consideration in the field of observing the women’s background upon the implementation of the incarcerating policies has a great impact on the justice sentence a woman is supposed to receive. However, some women face to recognize this fact and fail to comply in accepting their mistakes when they are being interviewed in the prison homes by the authorities.

Most of the time, female offenders justify their mistakes and their involvement in drug abuse and other drug related activities to their life situation. At some points, it would really help if a woman simply states the main reason why they had to resort to drugs in the first place. This factor of accepting one’s mistake against the law would thus be considered as a confession and could give the female offender a chance to have at least a shorter time spent in the prison homes. 3. 2 Drug Addiction Rate in Comparison with Incarceration Growth

Yearly, drug addiction becomes a plague that continues to thrive in the human society. This fact is based upon the real events that report the statistical data of drug-borne crimes in the society. In addition to that, it could not be denied that the existing situation simply becomes aggravated each year and brings more and more problems to the society. About 45 percent of the inmates in prison houses around US are incarcerated because of drug addiction and drug abuse connected crimes.

This factor proves that every year, the trend of drug usage and the abuse of these substances changes and gains larger favor in the society. Consequently, many people fail to recognize the fact that the present situation in the society drives more people, especially women closer to the temptation of using drugs and becoming addicted to them. This is the main reason why drug policies implied in the United States are changed and adjusted every now and then. This is to be able to meet the needs of the society in meting the challenges of fighting with drug addiction.

However, incarcerating the ‘culprits’ of the said addiction trap does not free the society from the grave effects of the said addiction. Worse, the ‘addicts’ who were incarcerated are even faced with more temptation of using drugs behind bars than being rehabilitated in not using it. Thus, after an inmate have been freed, he or she has greater chances of coming back behind bars as they are not rehabilitated on not doing the past addictive activities they did before. The government and other non-government organizations offer numerous rehabilitation programs to ex-drug-abusers too.

As for example, the restorative justice program is not only for juvenile delinquents or young offenders who have been against the basic laws of the government but also for women who opt to change their ways in life. Transforming a female drug-abuser may not be that easy. As mentioned in the earlier parts of this study, women gain deeper addiction to drugs once they started the vice. However, with patience and self determination from the abuser herself, rehabilitation is not a goal impossible of being fulfilled. 3.

3 How U. S. Drug Policy Affects Women National and state drug edicts and policies over the previous twenty years have had particular, unequal effects on women, and specifically women of color and low income women. As local and federal decision-makers assess existing and forthcoming drug laws and rules, these effects necessitate further study and conscientious consideration. People tend to rely on the criminal justice system. They often believe that it will reduce the use, exploitation, and selling of illegal drugs.

Yet, it has barely had an effect on the supply and demand of these prohibited drugs in the United States. In fact, it even has led to sky-rocketing rates of women imprisonment. Nationally, the number of incarcerated women in central jails and regional prisons is now more than eight times as there were in 1980. From 12,300 in 1980, it has proliferated to 182,271 by 2002. The number of women imprisoned in state penitentiaries surpassed the rate of increase in the number of incarcerated men for drug related crimes.

Records of locked up women due to offenses related to illegal drugs has escalated by 888% between 1986 and 1999. It is also pointed out in some existing data that women, and predominantly mothers and survivors of drug exploitation, have less access or assistance from recent models of drug treatment. Because of the lack of options of practical drug treatment, women’s drug consumption and addiction are more probable to be dealt with as lawbreaker justice issues than as health crisis they really are.

Focusing on women’s usage and dependence on drugs through incarceration rather than treatment adds to the amplifying costs connected with up to date drug laws and policies. (American Civil Liberties Union) Women’s incarceration for drug transgressions not only fails to tackle the issues which predispose contributed to their attachment with drugs; in fact, it often aggravates them. Some common scenes on this dilemma that U. S. women face, as noted by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), are as follows:

• “Sexual and physical violence against women at the hands of correctional officers is widespread in United States prisons. The abuse women experience behind prison walls has devastating consequences, particularly for those who are survivors of violence, suffer from depression, or are working to overcome addiction. ” • “Incarcerated women’s physical and mental health is routinely put at risk by ill-conceived security policies, as well as delays in providing emergency and routine healthcare. ”

• “Incarcerated mothers face emotional trauma due to separation from their children and frequently suffer from depression, loneliness and despair. Infliction of such trauma on women with substance abuse problems is particularly problematic because these conditions often trigger the urge to use drugs. ” • “Communities targeted by current drug laws and policies lose mothers, caregivers and workers as a result of women’s incarceration, leading to serious effects on the well-being of children and families. ” • “In most cases, when a woman is imprisoned, her child is displaced.

Children are three times more likely to live with the other parent when their fathers are incarcerated than when their mothers are in prison. ” • “Ten percent of children with mothers incarcerated in state prisons are in foster homes or agencies, and 79% live with a grandparent or relative. ” • “Women’s incarceration can result in emotional and financial hardship for their family members. Family members often take custodial responsibility for the children of incarcerated mothers because the alternative may be the permanent loss of custody.

The loss of incarcerated women’s income, combined with the emotional impacts on children of losing their mothers, results in increased stress on family and community members. ” • “An estimated 28 million women (approximately 26% of women 18 years or older living in the United States) provide support and care to chronically ill, disabled or aged family members or friends. While there is no documentation of the number of incarcerated women who were caregivers prior to their incarceration, the removal of incarcerated women from their communities clearly has a significant impact on all community members.

” (American Civil Liberties Union) The ACLU, Break the Chains: Communities of Color and the War on Drugs, and the Brennan Center for Justice compiled these reports to inform the people the effects of drug decrees and sentencing policies not only on women but also on their families and on the society they belong to. According to Lenora Lapidus, Director of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, family values are intended to keep families together. In addition, the director said that treatment can cure drug addiction, but there’s no medication for a shattered family. (“Drug Policies Are Destroying Families, Groups Charge “)