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A Conflict On Women And Drugs Criminology Essay

In 1986 Congress transferred mandatory least sentencing. Federal compulsory drug phrases take the decision away from the judge and gives sentences based on: 1. The sort of medicine; 2. The weight or alleged weight of the medicine combination and 3. The amount of preceding convictions. The rise of ladies in prison appears to be correlated with US drug regulations and guidelines. Many researchers dispute that the warfare on drugs has directly become a warfare on women. In 1999, the Bureau of Justice Statistics documented that 1 in 3 women were likely portion time for a medication offense in comparison to 1 in 8 women in 1986. Three reasons often determine the engagement of women in the unlawful justice system, the first would be a history of maltreatment, the second issue is disrupted family and personal romantic relationships and finally the 3rd is drug abuse. Women that wrap up in prison have usually been abused and/or battered, are financially disadvantaged, have abused drugs, and/or are minorities. Because of the circumstances just described and stricter insurance policies and laws and regulations regarding drugs the outcome is a radical climb in the incarceration of women. If women have emerged as patients of circumstance they are essentially adapting to the conditions of the lives and struggling to endure. The status of women in prison demonstrates their position in society; they are simply marginalized by racism and sexism. Ladies in jail have been ruined by the oppression of patriarchy, monetary marginalization and the far-reaching effects of such short sighted and damaging policies as the war on drugs and the over reliance on incarceration, (Owen, 2000).

Female Offenders

Women have become the new offender in the criminal justice system. Through the years the amount of women incarcerated has greatly increased. In 2000, there were more than 1 million ladies in america in prison, probation or parole, whereas in 1990 there were 600, 000 in the same situation. The rise in the incarceration of women can be greatly attributed to US policies and regulations on drugs and medication related offences. Women are usually minimally involved in drug offences but are seriously punished because of the mandatory minimum laws in place. The war on drugs doesn't have laws laid out specifically for women and men, the laws are universal and apply equally to both men and women. Drug laws were originally created for the male legal and did not take into account the special circumstances in women's lives. These women that are being punished under the required minimum drug laws and regulations are the wives, moms, daughters, sisters, nieces, granddaughters and girlfriends of many law abiding people in society. These women become involved in drug crimes because of their dependence with their significant other, whether it's economically, because of fear or other extenuating scenario. Women who become victims of mandatory minimum laws are incarcerated and subject to patriarchal phrases because the men in their lives coerced, appreciated or scammed them into transporting drugs.

Women in jails and prisons are often oppressed and even victimized. There are many contest and gender inequalities in the legal justice system when it comes to handling women and their needs. Women offenders will be incarcerated now than they were at any other time in the annals of america. The legal system is becoming more ready to prosecute and incarcerate women than at any other amount of time in the history of the United States.

Mandatory minimum sentencing policies for drug related offenses have increased the amount of women incarcerated. According to the Sentencing Job, between 1986 and 1991 the population in condition prisons for medication offenses increased by 828 percent for African-American female, 328 percent for Latinas, and 241 percent for white women (Mauer & Huling, 1995).

Guilt by Association

Drug laws and regulations now set up punish not only the people who sell the drugs, but also people who assist the medication dealer as well as people who just know the medicine supplier. Women are apprehended at higher rates in reference to the warfare on drugs. In lots of circumstances women are arrested and sentenced merely for remaining with a significant other who's mixed up in medication trade industry. Women are usually more vulnerable than men for prosecution predicated on their associations rather than on their tendencies. Women who are involved in the medicine trade tend to be nominally involved and frequently only participate in the medication trade in order to be able to fiscally support their own medication habit. Some women are bullied in to the drug trade because of abuse or credited to financial instability.

"These mandatory lowest sentences are perhaps a good example of regulations of unintended outcomes. There's a reputable body of thoughts and opinions which believes these necessary minimums impose unduly tough consequence for firs-time offenders - especially for "mules" who enjoyed only a minor role in a drug distribution plan. Be that as it may, the required minimums also have resulted in an inordinate upsurge in the federal prison population and can require huge expenses to develop new prison space

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, U. S. Supreme Court

Mandatory minimum sentences take away the discretion of the judge, therefore not allowing a judge to take into consideration mitigating circumstances that could decrease the harshness of the sentence. Mandatory minimum phrases require that low level offenders receive the required sentence required by statutes. Women can seldom assist in providing prosecutors with information that could assist in lessening their punishment because they're often mules, transporters and low level offenders and do no have access to valuable information needed by the prosecution. Also, often women choose never to provide what little information they do have due to safety of their family and children. Due to the mandatory minimum laws and regulations and the quantity of information that ladies have the ability to provide they are often subject to harsher punishments than their male counterparts, who are often "kingpins".

Women who are sent to jail tend to be the principal caregivers for his or her children and other family members. Children be based upon their mothers and when they become incarcerated the kids are left incorrectly went to or in unstable temporary arrangements. Due to a mother's preoccupation with her children, women often desire to speed up their case by entering a plea of guilt in order to receive a smaller fee and stay out of prison or reduce her phrase.

Mandatory Minimum Regulations and Their Effect on Women

Prisons are filled with assault therefore entrapping women in a world of cruelty and abuse that will not succeed in dealing with the needs of women, such as their mental, medical or financial needs. The dynamics which were just referenced are what originally contribute to a woman's participation in the legal justice system; these dynamics are what originally created women's engagement with drugs. When a woman enters prison she is often times abused and revictimized therefore further destroying a woman.

In prison women are often actually or sexually abused. When a woman is at prison she is unable to obtain proper medical treatment. Research has mentioned that ladies in prison are put through physical, erotic, verbal and psychological mistreatment by guards and other inmates. Amnesty International's 1999 report, "Not Section of My Phrase" - Violations of the Man Rights of Women in Custody, shows that males staff, under the guise of correctional supervision, frequently watch women as they shower, use the toilet, and dress and undress in their skin cells. Women are often sexually extorted while in prison for basic every day essentials such as toothbrushes, cleaning soap, etc.

A woman who is abused in prison suffers many effects particularly if she was abused in the past or suffers from any mental condition including but not limited to despair, bipolar disorder or if she actually is recovering from a drug habit. Exactly like any woman who is abused, a female who's abused in jail is still left with severe imbedded subconscious marks. Often women who are abused in jail are more severely scared than other women, a few of the psychological marks that girls who are abused in prison are remaining with are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape Injury Syndrome, prevalent doubts, nightmares and flashbacks, these scars can lead to hatred towards self applied, anxiety, despair, suicide and drug abuse. Women who are sexually assaulted while in prison are at the mercy of sexually transmitted diseases and/or being pregnant which they may not get treatment or prenatal look after.

Both male and female prisons provide poor health care because of its inmates. Women have higher rates of medical issues than men. Women in prison acquire poor medical treatment, nor obtain needed medications for medical ailments such as center conditions, depression, other mental health diseases, asthma and other medical ailments. Women often have to get permission from guards to get medical assistance. Prisons don't have a full medical personnel thus contributing to having less medical treatment available to women.

Women who enter the prison system on medicine charges are often diagnosed with melancholy as well as drug addiction. A few of these women are also identified as having bipolar, schizophrenia and other mental health conditions which are not properly cared for in jail. Prisons are not prepared to properly care for women's mental health conditions and do not have the money to provide needed guidance services. Women that are prescribed psychotropic drugs are often not given the medications appropriately and instead they receive the medications as sedatives. Incarcerated women that are separated from their children suffer a great deal of trauma, these women often become despondent. Women whose mental health issues are exacerbated scheduled to incarceration and have a past record of drug abuse may turn to drug use while in jail in order to ease the mental pain.

Children Affected

Many of the ladies in today's prison system have slight children. From 1991 through 1999, 98 percent of children in america had a mom who was simply imprisoned, (Bureau of Justice Reports). It is estimated that most women in prison have two children and preceding to incarceration the kids resided with the mother. When women are delivered to prison, children tend to be positioned with other family or in foster care and attention. In terms of the Battle on Drugs, children are removed from the mother due to incarceration or due to a mother's addiction. If a female is sent to a residential cure rather than to prison she actually is still separated from her children. Some residential drug treatment programs don't allow children to visit plus some have age restrictions. Although each child will react distinctively to extended separation from his or her mother, researchers survey that when a mom and child are segregated credited to incarceration, the kid often grieves as though the mother has passed on, experiencing a grief that is unique to children with incarcerated parents, (Bloom & Steinhardt, 1993). Children with an incarcerated mother tend to suffer from fear, panic, grief and sadness and later in life these symptoms can lead to withdrawal as well as verbal or physical hostility. Lots of the children whose moms are in prison are delivered to foster homes where they have got an increased likelihood of being physically, sexually and emotionally abused.

When a mother is incarcerated her day to day connections with her children are modified and significantly evolved. Correctional facilities do not help women in having relationships using their children and frequently due to the distance of the prison it is often times impossible for children to visit their mothers. Going to a father or mother in prison is very difficult for children and going to a mom in prison can be psychologically harmful to children. Telephone calls from mothers to children while in jail can be very costly thus lowering the likelihood a child will be able to speak to the mother or father via telephone.

Few prisons offer family reunification programs for children. Incarcerated moms and their children aren't provided with counseling, parenting classes, skills training, overnight programs for moms and children and other essential services, therefore hindering the partnership between a mom and her children. Building these programs in prisons would give women the opportunity to fulfill their jobs as mothers and learn how to properly look after and raise their children.

As more women are incarcerated anticipated to Drug Regulations the fate of children lies in the hands of the welfare system. The kid welfare system is not prepared to cope with the rising quantity of children left with out a mother due to the increasing amount of women incarcerated because of necessary minimum laws. Moms convicted of drug crimes are dually punished, they may be punished by the judicial system and they're also punished by the welfare system who eliminates their children of their care and guardianship.

The Result of the War on Drugs

Minimum mandatory medication laws are destroying the lives of women. These laws are destroying individuals and children's lives. Harsh abuse does not address the issues causing women to use drugs, to become dependent on drugs, to market drugs, or even to remain in abusive romantic relationships with drug traders. Lots of the women caught for medication charges are dark-colored women or poor women. Lots of the drug related crimes that girls are arrested for could be handled outside of the judicial system. The judicial system does not address why a female becomes involved with drugs or why she negative aspects her family in doing such. Medicine dependant women should be treated rather than incarcerated. Incarcerating a woman who is dependant on drugs increases her chances of relapsing thus at the same time increasing the chance for mental health issues such as depressive disorder and anxiety. Women that become involved in the medication trade industry because of coercion or misuse are punished for not submiting their partner, the individual who is physically or psychologically abusing them. The judicial system does not dwelling address the needs of children who lose their mother's to prison nor will it assist ladies in building a romantic relationship using their children. A woman's incarceration can lead to permanent loss of her children and can prevent her from getting any federal assistance after her release.

Instead of incarcerating women because of the mandatory minimum medication laws, we have to provide them with the necessary tools they have to assist them. Within the woman's community there are extensive resources that can aid her in leaving an abusive romantic relationship. A community also offers resources to aid women in with drug dependency issues. Women need to be empowered to become successful and profitable members of modern culture. These women alternatively than being punished have to be provided with opportunities to raised their lives and with the correct tools to be better parents.


As a culture rather than spending profit prisons, we need to invest money in community resources that will aid women with medications and resolving the underlying reasons that led them to medication dependence. Women involved with drug offences because of abusive relationships need to be provided with the correct resources to assist them in going out of that romance and attaining financial freedom as well as psychological stability. Women need to be provided with the skills and training essential to live successful lives in world.

Rather than working with ladies in the legal justice system as a region we need to provide choice resources. We have an obligation to save these women for themselves and their children. The root causes for women's involvement in drug crimes have to be addressed. Women need to be provided with services for medicine addiction, health issues, mental health issues and abuse. Rather than placing ladies in prisons that were made for men for committing a criminal offenses that they were forced into through coercion or abuse, we ought to place them in treatment programs designed to meet with their particular needs. Treatment programs suitable for women should combine mothers and their children allowing for mothers to get necessary counselling and parenting classes while positively looking after their children.

Mandatory minimum laws need to be reevaluated. Women have to be punished for his or her part in the drug criminal offenses, not for the overall offense that they did not play part in. A woman should not be punished because of association; a female should be punished and held accountable for her activities. A judge should be permitted to ultimately make a decision a woman's punishment and her participation in the medicine offense being costed.

Women that must definitely be incarcerated for their role in a medication criminal offense should be granted the opportunity to visit with their children. Children should not be punished; they are not the ones who devoted the criminal offense. To elaborate, a female with repeated medication charges shouldn't be allowed reunification with her children because following the first or second fee it should be noted that woman does not wish to learn from her original miscalculation. Women who are punished under essential minimum regulations unfairly should be granted ample chance of reunification using their children.

There is not any reason to why women need to be punished for medication crimes that they didn't willingly participate in. Mandatory minimum laws were designed for kingpins and drug traffickers but definitely it isn't serving its purpose. The individuals being affected most by these obligatory minimum laws will be the people with minimal participation in the offense. Mandatory minimum regulations have to be reevaluated and applied appropriately. The best decision on abuse should be studied from the prosecution and should lie entirely in the hands of the judge.

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