Study: State's Female Prisoners Struggle With Mental Disorders

New research finds most inmates in Massachusetts' only all-female prison are mentally ill, addicted, victims of physical and sexual abuse and incarcerated for a minor offense.

Suffolk University anthropologist Susan Sered tracked the lives of 839 women released from MCI-Framingham in 1995. She says 85 percent have mental health disorders on top of criminal records.

"Which makes it virtually impossible for anyone who's been incarcerated to get a job," Sered said, "which creates a horrible cycle — ya can't get a job but you need to eat, what are you gonna do?"

The study, called "Women and the Criminal Landscape in Massachusetts (PDF)," shows that only 5 percent of the women released in 1995 have found jobs.

This program aired on July 19, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


More from WBUR

Listen Live