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Facts about the Ohio Reformatory for Women

The reformatory is located in Marysville, OH which is about 40 miles northwest of Columbus. It was opened in 1916 and in August, 2004 the prison population was 2008 women.

The Ohio Reformatory for Women is a diverse, multi-security, correctional facility dedicated to creating a rehabilitative environment. Professional staff and offenders are provided an improved quality of life through innovative programming, enhanced security, employee enrichment and fiscal responsibility. Building collaborative partnerships and employing the principles of the re-entry philosophy will facilitate the population’s successful transition into the community.

The prison provides a variety of educational and vocational programs for the inmates. Special programs include the H.O.T. Program (Helping Others Together) which was started in 1996. This program allows inmates to assist fellow medically fragile inmates with tasks of daily living. The Therapeutic Community (TC) is a long-term (6-12 months) residential Alcohol and other Drug (ADD) treatment program. The aim of the Therapeutic Community is to promote pro-social behavior, attitudes, and values as a method of attaining abstinence from alcohol and other drugs. Achieving Baby Care Success Program allows incarcerated pregnant inmates to maintain custody of their infants after they are born. Each participant has an individualized treatment plan so that the problems that resulted in her incarceration are thoroughly addressed. Hands-on parenting instruction is available for every mother. Eligible mothers for the program are screened and must be serving a short-term sentence for a non-violent crime.

Facts about the General Women’s Prison Population

According to the Institute on Women and Criminal Justice the women’s prison population grew by 757% from 1977-2005. Across the country a majority of women serving prison time are incarcerated for non-violent offenses. Many struggle with drug addiction, mental health issues or both. Upon release women face the same barriers to successful re-entry as men when they leave prison: lack of housing, limited job opportunities, denial of public benefits and the social stigma of having a felony record.
According to the Department of Justice 70% of women in prison or under correctional supervision are mothers with 1.3 million children being affected. According to Oregon’s Correctional Department, a child with an incarcerated parent is 500-600% more likely than other children to spend time in prison at some point in their lives. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that in 2004 4% of women in state prisons and 3% in federal prisons were pregnant at the time of admittance. By 2006 only 9 states had prison nursery programs in operation or under development. Of the 9 programs available, 4 were created within the last 5 years. (Please not that the Ohio Reformatory for Women does have one of these programs)

Some regions of the country stand out in their willingness to use prison on women, with the south and mountain states leading the trend. By contrast, the northeastern states have seen a drop in the use of prison following a period of intense growth in the 1980s.

Facts about the General Prison Population

Over 9 million people are held in penal institutions throughout the world. Almost half of these are in the United States (2.09 million), China (1.55 million plus pre-trial detainees and prisoners in “administrative detention”) or Russia (0.76 million). The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world, some 714 per 100,000 of the national population, followed by Belarus, Bermuda and Russia (all 532), US Virgin Islands (490), Cuba (487), Cayman Islands (429), Belize (420), Ukraine (417), St. Kitts and Nevis (415), South Africa (413) and the Bahamas (410).

However, almost 3.5 of countries (58%) have rates below 150 per 100,000 inhabitants. The rate in England and Wales -142 per 100,000 on the national population-is above the midpoint of the world list. Prison population rates vary considerably between different regions of the world and between different parts of the same continent. For example: in Africa the median rate for western African countries is 52 whereas for southern African countries it is 324. In the Americas the median rate for South American countries is 152 whereas for Carribean countries it is 324. In Europe the median rate for southern European countries is 80 whereas for central and eastern European countries it is 184
Prison populations are growing in many parts of the world. Updated information shows that prison populations have risen in 73% of the countries listed in previous editions of the World Prison Population List (in 64% of countries in Africa, 79% in the Americas, 88% in Asia, 69% in Europe and 69% in Oceania).

Research by Wendy Bynner, Sacred Threads 2009 Chairwomen