Female Prisoners Are Prone to Co Existing Conditions .pdf
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Female Prisoners Are Prone to Co-Existing Conditions
The female prison population in America has been at an all-time high owing to extensive law
enforcement efforts and leading to more stringent drug sentencing laws. According to the
2015 report by "The Sentencing Project,” a research and advocacy center working for the
effective U.S. criminal justice system, "between 1980 and 2014, the number of incarcerated
women increased by more than 700 percent, rising from a total of 26,378 in 1980 to 215,332
But when it comes to ethnicity, the Hispanic women are twice as likely to end up in prisons as
compared to their white counterparts, whereas black women are four times more likely to be
incarcerated than an average white woman. Such a phenomenal rise in the numbers of female
inmates is probably linked to various drug-related offenses, escalating severity of offenses,
and inadequate community sanctions and treatment for women who violate drug laws.
There is a high
prevalence of mental
among jail inmates,
and in case of female
inmates, the rate of
mental disorders can
be higher than the
Further, women in
prisons are three
times more likely than
the general population
to report poor physical
and mental health,
increase their vulnerability to substance abuse.
Is treatment more important than incarceration?
According to the 2014 report by the National Institute of Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based
think tank dedicated to reducing society's dependence on imprisonment, “Two-thirds of drug
offenders leaving state prison will be re-arrested within three years, and that nearly half of
the released drug offenders will be returned to prison either through a technical violation of
their sentence-such as failing a drug test-or on a new sentence.”
Studies have shown that most of the female prisoners suffer from chemical dependency and
mental health problems stemming from interpersonal victimization. Unfortunately, at
present, there is no significant treatment to address the co-existing conditions faced by such
The need of the hour is to provide facilities for an early diagnosis and treatment for those
who are highly prone to criminal activities and the resulting dual diagnosis condition. The
government should work on ensuring alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders
battling with dual diagnosis. Moving them to alternative treatment options would ensure
appropriate treatment in therapeutic settings, curb overcrowding in a correctional set up, as
well as minimize relapse rates and incarceration costs.
Steps to treat dual diagnosis in a clinical setting
Nowadays, integrated intervention is the most widely accepted method to treat dual
diagnosis because it focuses on both the mental illness and the substance abuse. The steps
followed in a typical clinical setting are:
Detoxification: During the process, the patient is monitored 24/7 by a trained medical staff
for up to seven days, wherein tapering amounts of the substance, or its medical substitute
may be administered to ease the effects of withdrawal.
Inpatient rehabilitation: Patients suffering from serious mental health conditions and risky
patterns of drug abuse are generally admitted to an inpatient rehabilitation center for a more
comprehensive and closely monitored care aimed at eradicating the underlying causes.
Medications: Depending on the various mental illness symptoms a person is experiencing,
specialist doctors prescribe different medications to facilitate a smooth recovery with
minimal withdrawal effects.
Psychotherapy: It deals with making patients aware of their mental health conditions and
how their beliefs and behaviors influence their thoughts.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): It helps people with dual diagnosis learn new coping
strategies to change ineffective patterns of thinking.
Self-help and support groups: It is a platform for like-minded people to share frustrations,
successes and referrals for specialists in order to promote recovery.
Dual diagnosis is curable
If you or your loved one is a victim of dual diagnosis, get in touch with the Florida Dual
Diagnosis Helpline to know about various dual diagnosis treatment centers in Florida. For
more information on dual diagnosis treatment facilities in Florida, call us at our 24/7 helpline
For more information, please visit