“She’s Out of Sight”: Women, Healthcare, and the Prison System


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Monique Hassel

It’s no secret that the United States has a problem with its prison system. In 2009, one out of every 31 adults in the country was in prison, in jail, or on supervised release. What’s less talked about, however, is the fastest growing population behind bars: female prisoners. While it is important to distinguish the human right violations that female prisoners face, we should not think of these issues as “outside of the norm” or “special,” when discussing the treatment of prisoners in general. Yet scholarship on the prison industrial complex tends to focus on the alarming increase of men of color in prison, unintentionally neglecting female prisoners and their human rights. 

In 1873, Indiana established the first women’s correctional facility in the United States, aiming to “train the prisoners in the important female role of ‘domesticity.’”[1] Women fallen from the pedestal of delicacy and femininity…

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