Though statistics indicate that men are more likely to commit offenses that result in prison sentences, there are many women who are convicted of crimes and required to spend time in jail. Co-ed incarceration is not ideal for the safety and well being of female inmates. Serious concerns, such as sexual assault by male inmates, has promoted the creation of female prisons. Women are contained within separate facilities, where they can complete their prison sentence without anxiety or fear regarding abuse at the hands of male inmates. Female prisons are very similar in structure and function to male prisons, however, there are some notable differences.
Studies show that violence is much less common in female prisons than in facilities that house male convicts. Violence is frequent and widespread in prisons that contain male inmates, and as a result, detailed hierarchical social structures are created. Male inmates often belong to prison gangs, in order to obtain protection and security. In most instance, female inmates do not create this type of social structure, or partake in gang related activity.
Nevertheless, there are some very serious concerns that women in prison must address. For example, some of female inmates are pregnant upon entering into prison. In cases such as these, a woman may be required to give birth to her child while she is in prison. The child may be taken from her shortly after birth. Women who have produced a family prior to their prison sentence often experience a great deal of emotional and psychological distress, due to separation from their families. Though female inmates are generally more peaceful than male inmates, they do become angry and depressed, and commonly partake in self destructive behavior.