Women's Experience Behind Bars: Incarcerated Women Face Unique Challenges
Date:  09-10-2018

Half of incarcerated women in America are held in jails
From The Brennan Center:

Today, there are approximately 2.3 million people serving time behind bars in America. Men make up close to 91 percent of this population, so it’s no wonder the story of mass incarceration has always been a male-centric one. But that hides a surprising fact — the number of women behind bars is skyrocketing.

In 1980, the total number of women in jail, state prison, and federal prison was 26,378. By 2016, that number had ballooned to 213,722. This amounts to a growth rate of more than 700 percent and outpaces male population growth over the same period by more than 50 percent. In fact, while the U.S. accounts for only 4 percent of the world’s female population, it houses 30 percent of its incarcerated women.

How we got here

In many ways, female incarceration follows the same trends as the overall prison population, which has increased dramatically in recent decades. This total growth is largely attributable to the widespread criminalization of low-level offenses and the overuse of harsh sentencing penalties (particularly mandatory minimums) for nonviolent drug crimes, both of which came out of the tough-on-crime era of the 1980s and ’90s. Continue reading >>>