The article I chose is titled Gender Issues in the New Generation Jail, by Patrick G. Jackson, and Cindy A. Stearns. The source for this article is the Prison Journal. The article explains how men and women in the new jails have adapted. The definition of the new jail is a fifty-person pod style jail. The old jail was considered to be inhumane, disgusting, and have many blind spots. The problems in the old jails were growing year by year. The new jail comes furnished with televisions, separate showers, a phone, and other recreations. The inmates used in the study were all surveyed six months before and six months after the jail was opened. The men and women both showed significant differences in each other.
There have been studies that show that inmate attitude and behavior improves in the different management style jail. An example of this is the recent study showed a reduction in assaults, graffiti, and contraband. (Jackson, P. & Stearns, C. 1995) This survey was compiled to get opinions from the inmates to help aid in jail research. The surveys were broken up into eight different categories to
show their perceptions of the old and new jails. Privacy, safety, structure, support, emotional feedback, social simulation, activity, and freedom were the eight categories used. Privacy was defined as peace, quiet, and absence from environmental irritants such as noise and crowding. Safety was a preference for settings that provided a protection that minimized the chances of being attacked. Structure can be described as a preference for consistency in the rules, scheduled event, and impingement. Support is defined as the assistance from persons and services that facilitate self-advancement and self-improvement. Emotional feedback is the concern about being loved, appreciated, and cared for. Social stimulation is the preference for settings that provide an opportunity for social interaction and companionship. Activity is a distraction that fills time. Lastly freedom was the need for minimal restriction but maximum opportunity to govern ones own conduct. (Jackson, P. & Stearns, C. 1995) I believe these categories chosen were very good and very well defined. This was a good method of research.
Of the inmates used in the survey most of them have prior arrests. Almost fifty percent of the inmates have
been in jail six or more times. Both the males and the females share this characteristic. The severity of the crime is higher in the males however. The average age of the male and female inmates is just over thirty years of age. The female inmates average time spent is 64.6 days in jail, while the males is 92.7. The amount of males uses is far greater than the amount of females. I believe this is hurtful to the research in that it should be half males and half females.
According to the survey the female inmates experienced the pod style, new jail system to be very difficult compared to the males. Overall the males seemed have a much better outcome with the new jail. While the males showed patterns of improvement overall, the females did. This mostly has to do with the new conditions of confinement through direct supervision. The men showed a very large improvement in the activity category too compared to women. Both males and females were in common with declines in the categories of social stimulation and emotional feedback. An example of this is the inmates perceptions of the jail environment. I believe the research was gathered very well.
It shows the distinct differences between the two genders in the study.
What are the gender issues in the new jails? According to the article, the reason for the difference between males and females in the new jail is primarily because of the pod style itself. It seems that woman desire a closer, family like relationship with small numbers of inmates. The males seem to be very opposite in that the associate more with larger groups even if less personally. This I believe should be researched further to see if that has to do with the fact that the male inmates had longer stays in the new jail.
In conclusion I believe that the new jail systems should be different for both genders. A policy of equal treatment for female and male inmates results in mostly negative effects on women. (Jackson, P. & Stearns, C. 1995) I believe this is true simply because men and women are very different from each another. An example is the new jails recreation program. Mini basketball courts were provided but the women did not enjoy the courts as much as the men did. This was the reason the females declined so much in the activity category. One of there biggest
activities was knitting until it was cancelled because of the use of sharp needles. I believe the pods are to be very effective in that that it will be a lot easier to see and know all that is going on in a fifty person pod. Especially compared to twenty-five separate two person cells. The decreasing in blind spots from cameras will help the officers very much. Although I find this article, Gender Issues in the New Generation Jail, by Patrick G. Jackson, and Cindy A. Stearns, to be effective, I believe that a better study should be done to prove it. I dont believe enough females were surveyed therefor I dont believe it should be thought of as fact without further research. If another study was done they should use the same method of the eight categories in my opinion.
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