Spike in Female Inmates Spurs Prison Pact in Washington, Greene
March 6, 2015
If you watch any of the seemingly endless television shows regarding law and order and crime and punishment, you may have noticed that the antagonist drug defendant is often a man.
But all you have to do is ask a criminal defense attorney who regularly handles clients facing drug-related charges to know that the number of women facing misdemeanor and even felony possession and related offenses is on the rise.
In fact, the Washington County deputy warden recently told the Observer-Reporter newspaper that drugs were the reason why the local prison board recently approved an agreement that would allow the Washington and Greene county jails house each other’s female prisoners.
And according to the story, an increase in female inmates – whether they are in jail for drug-related reasons or otherwise – mirrors what is happening across the country. Even as reforms have reduced the number of men being held in prisons, the number of women being incarcerated has increased. Prison reforms will now have to look at the female population, and figure out ways to reduce recidivism, among other things.
According to information compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union, also known as the ACLU, the number of females being processed through the criminal justice system has spiked, and many of those girls and women are subjected to mandatory sentencing policies for nonviolent offenders. The point this criminal defense attorney is trying to make is this: I’ve seen how drug addiction, abuse, and use can destroy not only a life, but an entire family.
Any experienced Pittsburgh criminal lawyer will tell you that the penalties for drug crimes, whether possession or trafficking are quite serious, starting from huge fines and a considerable period of imprisonment. Even after you finish serving your jail time, your conviction will be public information accessible to all professional licensing boards, schools, and potential employers. So, once again, it has been proved that drug offenses have far-reaching effects which can destroy your future completely. And, with your future destroyed, the lives of your children and other family members are demolished right along with it.
With so much at stake, it is essential to resort to an efficient and experienced criminal defense attorney who can handle your case with utmost precision. Any skilled Pittsburgh criminal lawyer will analyze and examine all the aspects of your case, including how the police had arrested you, pulled you over, and searched your belongings. In several cases, it has been found that the police tampered with the constitutional rights of the suspect while conducting the arrest or search and this can be a brilliant argument for the dismissal of your criminal charges. But, what you need is an extremely proficient and smart lawyer to bring out such weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
If the police have completely respected the suspect’s fundamental rights, then you may defend your case by proving that you were not aware of such possession. You can show that you had no intention of distributing if there was no circumstantial evidence like scales, baggies, or huge amounts of cash. Or, you could also show that the substance was actually not drugs if the police mishandled the drug sample or breached procedures.
Advocates and law enforcement agencies have long said that addiction doesn’t discriminate. The problem with drugs isn’t a problem among just the poor, or just the young or just women or men – it is a problem that faces every community and every demographic.
Additionally, law enforcement has been cracking down increasingly harder on drug trafficking and possession. Every year, we see more and bigger drug busts. Rings of people who bring drugs from other states to package and distribute here are being arrested. More women are taking part, and more are finding their way to local jails.
This latest pact to accommodate more female prisoners is just another example of that.