The Importance of Gender in US Prisons
This chapter explores the ways that gender is managed through prison policies and practices. It compares and contrasts the treatment of women and men, through an approach that pays specific attention to racism and ethnicity, with an emphasis on African-American, Latino/a, Native American and white prisoners in the US. The chapter focuses on institutional management and control as affected by race, gender, and class in prisoners' backgrounds, classification on arrival and living conditions, access to services, childbirth and parenting, gender and sexual management, violence, release, and parole. The majority of all prisoners are poor people of color. Arrival in prison for both men and women begins with classification. Prison services are designed for the majority of prisoners, who are men. Consequently, many services that women need are provided as afterthoughts. Violence in women's prisons is less evident or documented than in men's prisons.