Ms. Diane Hatton and Ms. Anastasia Fisher, I would like to commend the efforts of your article, Incarceration and the New Asylums: Consequences for the Mental Health of Women Prisoners, to educate the unknowing public about the dangerous and grim statistics of women in jails and prisons. I find it particularly interesting that although the asylums of the 1970’s were found inadequate and disbanded, jails and prisons currently seem to be serving the same purpose in housing the mentally ill, but not actually making any movement or progress towards helping the issues that plague these women.
As I read this article a few questions came to mind that I would like to research further. Since the majority of incarcerated women come from dysfunctional backgrounds, are family members (regardless of gender) of these women more likely to commit crimes as a result? The statistics presented show that women of African and Hispanic descent are more likely to be incarcerated then white women. In what context were these statistics gathered?
For instance, do these statistics hold true in areas of less ethnic diversity, and in areas of a higher income as opposed to areas poverty? Your article states that few women actually receive help while they are incarcerated, and I was uncertain if this is due to help not being offered or because the prisoners deny assistance. Again, I would like express my sincere appreciation for the efforts that went into this article.
I agree that the goal of these institutions should be to help these women recover from their illnesses and neurosis and build skills so that when they are released they may have the tools to end the vicious cycle of mental issues and crime and increase their quality of life. This article raises awareness of the reality that women’s prisons do not offer the proper rehabilitation services. To spread awareness of such an issue is the first step in making an advance to correct the inadequacies.