During the past five years, little has changed with regard to housing female offenders in U.S. correctional facilities. Comparing the current survey data to that of a similar survey published in the March 1998 issue of Corrections Compendium, the only significant change that has occurred is the cost associated with housing these offenders. The 43 U.S. systems that responded to the current survey reported housing a total of 70,241 females on Dec. 31, 2003. In the 1998 survey, 46 U.S. systems held slightly more than 64,000.
The 43 U.S. reporting systems stated they operate 52 coed facilities and 100 female-only facilities. Four Canadian jurisdictions responded to this survey, reporting 20 coed facilities and nine for females only.
Sixty-seven percent of the U.S. reporting systems maintain separate diagnostic centers for female offenders. The average cost of housing female inmates in the United States, according to respondents in the 1998 survey was $23.72 compared with $20.37 for males. As might be expected from rising costs in today's market, the reported average cost for housing female inmates in the United States is $71.24 compared with $64.97 for male inmates. The average daily rate for female inmates was highest in Rhode Island at $139.65 and lowest in Alabama at $24.89.
Twenty-two U.S. reporting systems have more females incarcerated for drug/alcohol-related offenses than any other crime. Fourteen systems indicated that violent crimes were second in numbers, while Florida, Tennessee, Vermont and Wyoming noted property violations as their leading category of offense.
Other categories indicated in the survey are fugitive from justice, sex offender, public order/administration, habitual criminals, weapon possession, awaiting trial, county safekeeping, witness tampering, escape, probation/ parole violations, forgers/fraud/embezzlement, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, registration violations, breaking and entering, conspiracy and motor vehicle.
Seven U.S. reporting systems have a separate system in place for female inmates. Slightly more than 6 percent of the females in the U.S. reporting systems' facilities are classified as maximum security, while 36 percent are under medium-security classification and 44 percent are listed as minimum security. Nine systems reported holding female inmates in protective custody. Of the reported total number of females housed on Dec. 31, 2003, 1,998 were under community...