Feminism: Treatment of Women in Prison

By Vedant Saigal 

The constitution of India or any other country that provides rights to its people is simultaneously responsible for protecting them. But, when we peep into the reality, the scenario is completely different. Women often face discrimination when they are part of a male-dominated society. Women who are rarely seen in the society are often found in prisons. Studies have shown that they are not even safe in there.

A woman can deal with a lot of harm in a society, but in prisons more harm is done that may cause that woman to suffer through post-traumatic stress disorder for the rest of her life. There are several incidents that happened in jails around the world, as elaborated further in this essay. These incidents seemed like a horror movie in which women were the baits to the spirits of the jail guards and other officials. The haunted era that women go through, would be a tough one to see or listen.

In Brazil, there have been cases in which women were held in the housed wings within male prisons, increasing the risk of sexual abuse and assault. Women were not receiving sanitary pads during their post-partum bleeding. There have been repeated cases in which high officials and jail guards tried to sexually harass women and watch them naked while bathing. Also today we hear issues wherein male officials abuse women while searching them for prohibited substances. The thought of having female officials as guards in prisons set for females should never be a question to come up.

It is not only the sexual abuse that women have to suffer from in jails, but also improper hygiene conditions. Prisons in Costa Rica leaves everyone in a state of shock and somehow guilty as well. The kitchens of the jails are a home to pigeons, birds and poop droppings. The unavailability of hand soap causes various infections and health communicable diseases. A report released between the 2005-11 emphases the illegal sterilization proceedings on women. People call doctors the ‘Life Savers’, but few of the doctors are still standing in the same que of malpractices and illegal conducts.

This horror movie can come to an end if the authorities take in initiatives to improve sanitation facilities in the prisons. Officials can take over the charge by ensuring that the kitchen and bathrooms are kept clean after every use. Government can encourage physical fitness activities or campaigns for the prisoners to ensure a healthy lifestyle and reduce the level of stress that women face. The involvement of NGOs and the training of prisoners as volunteers would build their enthusiasm. To make women prisoners aware of the current happenings in the world, the officials should allow politicians, ministers and other leaders to conduct awareness among them. We can bring a change if we all stand unite and safeguard women not only in the society but even under the government controlled bodies.


10 keys to improving conditions in overcrowded prisons. (n.d.). [eBook] Washington, DC: Centre for justice and reconciliation, pp.1-2. Available at: http://restorativejustice.org/am-site/media/overcrowding-en.pdf [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018].

Brown, E. (2018). 9 Women Describe Horrific Treatment at the Hands of Their Jailers. [online] Reason.com. Available at: https://reason.com/blog/2018/02/16/pregnant-prisoners-sue-alameda-county [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018].

Human Rights Watch. (2017). Brazil’s Illegal Treatment of Women in Prison. [online] Available at: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/03/06/brazils-illegal-treatment-women-prison [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018].

Johnson, C. (2013). California was sterilizing its female prisoners as late as 2010 | Corey Johnson. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/08/california-female-… [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018].

TheFreeDictionary.com. (n.d.). frisking. [online] Available at: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/frisking [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018].

Related Post