Incarcerated women are treated more harshly than incarcerated men, according to a report from the US Commission on Civil Rights released Wednesday.
“Women in Prison: Seeking Justice Behind Bar” compares the treatment of women in prison by prison officials, and focuses on the fairness of that punishment compared to male inmates. The study found that women faced harder punishment for minor offenses compared to men.
The report also found that the federal justice system was designed to suit a male population and therefore insufficiently addresses the needs of women. The report found a lack of adequate access to health care, failure to prevent sexual assault, and inadequate attention to parenting rights, among others.
The report follows Congressional hearings held last year over the matter of maltreatment of women and minority groups in prison, where they identified that women were only receiving attention when there was a “crisis or scandal.” In a press release, Commission chair Catherine Lhamon said, “We urge Congress and the Department of Justice to take immediate action to ensure that correctional officials do not violate the rights of incarcerated women.”