Justice System Women

In Kilroy's (2004:5) study of prions in Australia, she found that women prisoners did not have adequate programs, both educational and skill based. She agrees with Chesney-Lind and Pasko and Shover and Einstadter and states that women are penalised for the fact that they make-up a small percentage of Australia's prison population. She further states that it is clear the programs provided to women prisoners are not comparable in "quantity, quality, or variety" to those provided to male prisoners.

A female inmate from a maximum-security prison, Mulawa in New South Wales states, "There should be equality for women and men. We know that the male inmates get more than us women and it doesn't seem right. I know a few women who have been in prison in other states and it's the same there. The men get more than the women. " (Hampton 1993:4). In the United States, the work assignments that are available to women in prison are numerous but tend to be trivial in nature. Programs on offer are things such as cosmetology, office skills, sewing, and horticulture.

Few prisons train women in skills to help them become independent on their release. There is instead emphasised training for traditional women's low skilled jobs because of traditional definitions of gender roles. (Zaitzow 2003:33) Byrne and Howells as cited in Mitchell (2005:18) hold a different opinion and states that in Australia, prisons have a number of core programs that people in prison undergo and these programs rarely differ in availability for male and female offenders.

The National Institute of corrections supports this opinion and states, "there is equality in the deliverance of and general availability of educational and vocational programs at both men and women's prisons in the United States. " (NIC 2006) This last comment must be treated critically however as it is in the best interest of the corrections that they be held in the best light possible and it may be a possibility that in policy may not reflect practice. Educational and vocational programs in women's prisons are not as adequate, varied or as functional, compared to that of male prisons.

It is clear, based on evidence presented that there is a discrepancy as to what is on offer at a male penal institution compared to that of a female institution. Educational programming in women's prions is often inadequate and lacking in suitable and useable content. Reasons for this have been identified as their lack of statistical power in the prison system. As a result, women are indeed punished differently to men, as they do not have the same access to educational or vocational programs that men do.

If women were punished as if they were men they would have the same access to the same sort of programs that men would and this would not include "traditional low skilled jobs" that are a result of traditional gender roles. In the world of prison discipline, there are inconsistencies between the inner custodial regimes of women and men in prison. Women are disciplined more than men for petty unnecessary breaches of rules that would not usually be tolerated at a men's prison (Chesney-Lind & Pasko 2004:163).

A study conducted in 1994, which examined disciplinary practices at men and women's prisons in Texas put together two samples of inmates and followed them for a 1-year period. After the year had passed most men in the sample, 63. 5% had no or only one citation for a rule violation and only 17. 1% of the women in the sample had similar results. It was found in the study that women prisoners were much more likely to receive many more citations than men were and for drastically different sorts of offences.

Most commonly women were cited for violation of rules, as well as this, women were more likely to receive the most severe sanctions including solitary confinement. (Chesney-Lind & Pasko 163:2004). The women in the study were cited for breaking rules that including having "too many photographs on display", "failing to eat all the food on their plates" and "talking in the pill line" (Chesney-Lind & Pasko 163:2004). Women in the study were also known to be disciplined for possession of contraband, which could include such things as an extra bra or pillowcase peppermint sticks or a borrowed comb or hat.

Trafficking and trading instances of sharing shampoo in a shower and lighting another inmate's cigarette were also met with citations and punishment (163:2004 Chesney-Lind Pasko). The author of the study concluded that there existed two very different forms of surveillance and control operating in the male and female prisons the female being the much stricter of the two. Research such as this shows clear evidence than women in prison are over policed and over controlled in institutional settings and if men were controlled to the extent that women were, they would probably riot.

(Chesney-Lind & Pasko 164:2004). Braithwaite, Treadwell & Arriola (2005:1678) offer supporting opinions and state that in comparison to prisons for men, rules within women's prisons tend to be greater in number and pettier in nature. Women prisoners are commonly cited for disciplinary offences that are typically ignored within male institutions and while women are less violent than the men, they appear to receive a greater number of disciplinary citations for less serious infractions.

In Mulawa, a New South Wales women's prison a similar study was done, the study indicated that petty sentences for petty offences were being given out and there was unnecessary interference with women prisoner's daily lives. The number of similar charges to that of the women's, at Long Bay the main male prison in NSW was not significant enough to appear separately in statistical research. (Hampton 1993:32)