Relationships in Prison. Women’s relationships in prison commonly fulfill an emotional need. They are different from men’s sexual relationships in prison in that they are less likely to involve coercion or be motivated by power and status grabs. In addition to romantic relationships, female inmates are also likely to form prison families with roles that mimic mothers, sisters, and even grandmothers. For many inmates, their prison family is the first positive female role modeling they have encountered.
In the article, Inside a maximum security women’s prison, reporter Diane Sawyer spent a day and a night inside a prison to explore the relationships of female prisoners, particularly as they pertain to sex. In addition, read the report, Managing sexual relationships in a female prison, that takes a deeper look at the culture from the perspective of the guards of Bandyup Women’s Prison in Washington.
Should guards allow or encourage familial and/or sexual relationships in prison? What are the pros and cons?
Why do you think women who are straight in the community choose to enter into homosexual relationships in prison?
How might prison families help women cope with incarceration?