Where Are All the Young Men and Women of Color?: Capacity Enhancement Practice in the Criminal Justice System

By Melvin Delgado | Go to book overview

8
AIDS Counseling
Education, Bedford Hills
Correctional Facility,
New York

Bedford Hills Correctional Facility opened in 1901 and is located about forty-five minutes north of New York City. Bedford Hills houses 750 of a total of 3,500 female inmates in the state of New York. An additional 2,000 women are housed in New York City jails (Engle, 1999). The vast majority (approximately 80 percent) of female inmates in New York state prisons have histories of substance abuse, 75 percent are mothers, and 50 percent have suffered from a major psychiatric disorder (Engle, 1999). This profile does not differ dramatically from that reported in the literature and found in other states across the United States.

AIDS Counseling Education (ACE), established in 1988, serves as an excellent example of how capacity enhancement comes to life in a maximum security prison. Women in prison face tremendous challenges, one of which is AIDS (ACE Program, 1998). This program was developed by women inmates, primarily of color, of the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in response to the devastating impact of AIDS on their and their families' well-being. The program is multifaceted and directed by leadership from the inmates themselves, but with close collaborative relationships with social service and health organizations, some of which are staffed by social workers.

In 1992 approximately one of every five women inmates in the New York correctional system tested positive for the HIV virus, indicating a

-128-

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