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Female Offenders

NCJ Number
Corrections Compendium Volume: 26 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2001 Pages: 5-27
Susan L. Clayton
Date Published
January 2001
20 pages
Data from 45 U.S. correctional systems, 7 Canadian Provinces, and Correctional Service Canada address the following topics for female inmates: population and housing, diagnostics/offenses, incidents during incarceration, programming, visitation, and health care and pregnancy.
The U.S. female prison population had reached approximately 71,743 by October 1, 2000, and the Canadian jurisdictions reported 1,136 female inmates. The average cost to maintain female offenders in the 45 U.S. jurisdictions was $69 per day, compared to $59 for males. Female offenders in the United States were primarily housed in female-only facilities (113) or co-ed prisons (57). Canadian systems reported 13 female-only facilities and 28 co-ed units. Twenty-nine of the reporting U.S. systems operated separate diagnostic units for female offenders, and 16 systems did not. Forty systems maintained separate classifications for their female offenders. A total of 15,195 women were sentenced to prison for violent crimes, 11,393 for property theft, 794 for victimless crimes (including prostitution), 14,062 for drug or alcohol offenses, and 239 for domestic crimes. Four of the eight systems in Canada operated separate diagnostic units for their females, and none of them maintained separate classification. The notable Canadian offenses by women were violent crimes, property offenses, drug/alcohol offenses, victimless crimes, and domestic crimes. Inmate-on-inmate assaults topped the list of U.S. system inmate incidents. Inside work assignments were implemented in 29 U.S. reporting systems and in all 8 in Canada. Contact visits were permitted in all the reporting jurisdictions, with the exception of the District of Columbia. Numerous health services are routinely provided to female offenders in all the correctional systems. Of 1,449 reported births, newborns were allowed to remain with their mothers in only 12 systems. Charts provide information on each of the reporting jurisdictions.