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Facility Planning To Meet the Needs of Female Inmates

NCJ Number
Gail Elias
Date Published
May 2007
20 pages
This bulletin discusses how jurisdictions of all sizes should identify and address the gender-specific needs of female inmates in the process of planning new jail facilities.
This bulletin is relevant to jurisdictions that are planning jails that hold both male and female inmates and do not have a sufficient number of female inmates to justify having a separate facility for women. The discussion focuses on issues that are specific to female inmates at each stage of facility planning. Facility planning must first analyze historical trends in inmate characteristics for the jurisdiction. Each jurisdiction should calculate and record the average daily population, annual number of bookings, and length of stay separately for female and male inmates. The amount of variation in daily counts of inmates is one of the most important differences between the male and female inmate population. These data must be considered during the master planning phase for the new facility. Such data are useful for gender-specific classification, security designation, and program requirements. A successful plan should include sufficient housing for a female inmate population that might increase more than expected based on past trends. Planning must also take into account how the characteristics of female inmates differ from those of males, including offense characteristics, educational level, employment history, security classification, mental and physical health needs, and family circumstances. This bulletin also provides guidance for gender-specific classification and housing characteristics related to facility planning, as well as access to program services. Issues are addressed in terms of space and design considerations in prearchitectural planning. 7 figures and 8 references