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6|A SENTENCE APART | Discussion Guide | CREATING CONTEXT WOMEN IN PRISON There are now more than 200,000 women behindbarsandmorethanonemilliononprobation and parole. Many of these women struggle with substance abuse, mental illness, and histories of physical and sexual abuse. Female inmates had higher rates of mental health problems than male inmates (73 percent of females versus of 55 percent of males in state prisons)[a] . Most parents in prison are fathers (744,200 fathers compared to 65,600 mothers)[b] . WHAT IS THE “PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX?” The “Prison Industrial Complex” (PIC) is a term used to describe the overlapping interests of government and private industry that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to what are, in actuality, economic, social, and political problems[6] . In other words, the term “Prison Industrial Complex” suggests there is a link between the laws that put people behind bars and the commercial interests that can gain a financial profit from building and expanding prisons [4] . Private prison companies admit that their business model depends on putting more and more people behind bars. For example, in a 2010 Annual Report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) stated: “The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by . . . leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices . . . .” As incarceration rates skyrocket, the private prison industry expands at exponential rates, holding ever more people in its prisons and jails, and generating massive profits[7] . REFERENCES RESOURCES 4. Leonard A. Sipes Jr., Statistics on Women Offenders, 5. The Sentencing Project, Parents in Prison, a. Rachel Herzig, What is the Prison Industrial Complex?, b. American Civil Liberties Union, Banking on Bondage: Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration, Tanea Lunsford’s sisters. Still from A Sentence Apart