Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Handbook on Women and Imprisonment

"The main focus of the "Handbook" is female prisoners and guidance on the components of a gender-sensitive approach to prison management, taking into account the typical background of female prisoners and their special needs as women in prison" (p. 1). The text is divided into four chapters. Chapter 1-The Special Needs of Female Offenders: challenges in accessing justice; history of victimization and mental health-care needs; gender-specific and health-care needs; safety in prison; accommodation and family contact; pregnancy and women with children; and post-release reintegration. Chapter 2-Management of Women's Prisons: gender-sensitive prison management; staff; allocation; admission and registration; assessment and classification; safety and security; prisoner activities and programs; health care; access to legal assistance; contact with the outside world; preparation for release and post-release supervision; pregnant women and women with children in prison; special categories; and monitoring women's prisons. Chapter 3-Reducing the Female Prison Population by Reforming Legislation and Practice-Suggested Measures: legal assistance on arrest; diversion from prosecution; pretrial detention; sentencing; discriminatory legislation and trail procedures; and foreign national women. Chapter 4-Research, Planning, Evaluation, and Public Awareness-Raising: research, planning, and evaluation; and raising public awareness and training. Appendixes provide key recommendations for management of women's prisons, reducing the female prison population, and research, planning, evaluation, and public awareness-raising.