Are there significant consequences to the lack of attention paid to women's institutions? What are some of these consequences?
There is both psychological and physiological evidence to suggest that men are by nature more violent, and more capable of violence, than women. The rarityof female serial killers, and the disparity in crimes by women vs. men overall tends to support this claim. So in this manner, the concentration of our justice system on male offenders seems both benign and unintentional.
That being said, our justice system does seem to treat women offenders differently, and the execution of females is very rare in US history. So one can argue, with some justification, that reverse discrimination does exist in our courts and prisons, but this is probably simply a reflection of society's existing bias.
Funding for female and male institutions should be equal, per prisoner, or risk violating the Constitution's equal protection under the law (14th amendment). I have seen reports that women's prisons are more likely to have rehabilitation programs than a prison for men, but the evidence, to me, seemed anecdotal at best. I don't however, see evidence of a pattern of discrimination in funding or attention against women's prisons overall.
I believe if you do some research into this topic, you will find that it is a numbers game. The statistics for crimes committed by males is staggeringly higher than those those committed by females, so naturally, there are way more men in prison than women. Plus, statistics show that crimes committed by males are much more violent than those committed by women, that males are much more likely to use a weapon and to commit murder, so prisons for males need to be much more state-of-the-art. From doing some preliminary research into this question, it appears as if more money is poured into male offenders simply because there are so many of them, so perhaps a "perceived" neglect of women's corrections really is benign - which I interpret to mean not intentional, just a result of reality.
I would have to say that yes, the concentration on male offenders is justified. They seem to be more of a threat to society than women. This is based on statistics. You can check it out for yourself online.
One of your questions is are there any consequences to neglecting women's correctional institutions. I'd have to guess there are, though of course I can't know for sure. Because men and women are different creatures in social environments and in group environments, it seems to me there should be some adjustments made to ensure minimal violence and other kinds of trouble in facilities designed only for women. Common sense and experience tell me women in an enclosed and somewhat hostile environment will be just as dangerous as men, but much more insidious. Men's actions will likely be more overt. So how does that fact (if, indeed, I'm right) change how we design female incarceration to avoid excessive trouble? I don't advocate less punishment, of course, but it would be helpful if the place and type of punishment was best suited to the inmates it houses.
It would well be worth looking into the Sociological approaches to explain the massive disparity between males and females and their tendency to commit crime. Interestingly, more than any other factor (age, ethnicity etc), the one factor that pre-determines if you are more likely to commit crime or not is your gender, statistics of the genetic make-up of prisoners dictates. However, some sociologists have gone deeper to test this, arguing that in some cases there is a "Chivalry Thesis" which means that women don't actually commit any less crime than men, they just get away with it because male police officers and judges are nicer to them than they are to women. Consider what happens when women are stopped for speeding and how they might use their femininity to get away with it and you will get the idea!
The most disturbing issue I have seen recently with regard to the issue of incarceration of women in the United States is the practice of keeping mothers shackled throughout the process of giving birth. To put a woman in labor in shackles absolutely boggles the mind of any reasonable female who has given birth. How on earth can a pregnant woman in the act of having her baby be any sort of threat to anyone? I can only conclude that this practice is designed purely to demean female prisoners. I would rank this practice as "cruel and unusual punishment.
I would agree that you would have to look at the dollar amount per inmate and not just the total dollars spent on the men's prisons and the women's prisons. I would guess that if you were able to do that comparison the numbers would be pretty similar.
That is presupposing that women's corrections has been ignored. And I don't think that that is necessarily the case. There are probably not as many correctional places for men as there are for women due to possibly demographics of the criminal element. If there were just as many, I am sure for-profit agencies would be involved.