JSB173 Week 9 Revision
Imprisonment – Indigeneity and Gender
Gender in Prisons
The prison population in Australia is predominately made of males, with only around
10% being female. However, with an increasing prison population has also come a
rapidly increasing rate of female incarceration – greater than the rate of male
This may be explained at least in part by the increasing seriousness of the crimes
that women are committing.
According to health surveys, women prisoners are a high needs group compared to
non-incarcerated women, with high susceptibility to substance abuse, mental health
issues and infectious diseases.
Indigenous women are more likely to be incarcerated than non-indigenous women.
Women’s prisons are smaller than regular prisons and fewer in numbers.
Additionally, they appear to operate differently as well. Feminist criminologists argue
that due to these prisons being the minority, there is much institutionalised sexism
at a number of levels.
o First, women prisoners are less likely to receive vital visits and support from
family and friends while incarcerated.
o Second, they are less likely than men to receive adequate training and
o Thirdly, they are subjected to more frequent and harsher control than men.
Indigeneity in Prisons
Indigenous people are grossly over-represented in our prison populations and are
around ten times more likely to be imprisoned than non-indigenous counterparts
and around seventeen times more likely to be on remand in custody.