Women's Incarceration

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Women and Incarceration Josue Garcia Westwood College Abstract The female prison population in the United States continues to grow at an alarming rate. Specifically, from 2000 through 2009, the number of women incarcerated in state or federal prisons rose by 21.6 percent, compared to just a 15.6 percent increase for men. While the number of incarcerated men still far exceeds the number of incarcerated women, which was 205,000 women overall in prison or jail in 2010, the growth of the female prison population has a distinct effect on families and communities that are torn apart as a result. What’s more, sexual violence, drug dependence, and poverty are all strongly correlated with women’s incarceration, meaning that our society still chooses…show more content…
Two out of every three women in state prison have at least one family member who has been incarcerated and there are 1.5 million children who currently have a parent in state or federal prison. These children are at a heightened risk for future incarceration and children of color are disproportionately represented in this group as well, with 1 in 15 black children and 1 in 42 Latino children reporting having a parent in prison compared to just 1 in 111 white children. In my opinion, the devastating impact of women’s incarceration doesn’t end when women are released. That’s because women also face significant obstacles to effectively reentering society and providing for themselves and their children. Once released, women find themselves restricted from governmental assistance programs such as housing, employment, education, and subsistence benefits. Many states even impose statutory bans on people with certain convictions working in certain industries such as nursing, child care, and home health care three fields in which many poor women and women of color happen to be disproportionately concentrated. In the last 25 years, women have been the fastest growing prison population in the United States and in California. Between the ‘70s and the 2000s, the number of female inmates in state prisons serving a sentence of over a year has grown by 757%. Between 1985 and 2007, the number of women in prison increased by nearly double the rate of men. At the height of California’s prison boom, in the late 1990s. Women in particular, are caught up in the system because of drugs. In conclusion, given the fiscal challenges that states are facing and the large-scale abandonment of children that women’s incarceration generates, it is imperative that states reassess the growing female prison population. Interestingly, just this past week Utah exceeded operational
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