Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The rising number of women in jail

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 7:31 AM

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An important new report:
A study of the sharp rise in the number of women, many of them mothers, held in jail. It's from the Vera Institute of Justice and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge.

The number has grown 14-fold since 1970 and the plight of women has tended to be overlooked in the general examination of justice reform. Women remained confined even though they present fewer threats to society than men released from custody.

Some key findings:

* Small counties are driving the growth of the number of women in jail—with numbers increasing 31-fold between 1970 and 2014.

* Women often become involved with the justice system as a result of efforts to cope with life challenges such as poverty, unemployment, and significant physical or behavioral health struggles. Most are jailed for low-level, nonviolent offenses.

* Once incarcerated, women must grapple with systems designed primarily for men. As a result, many leave jail with diminished prospects for physical and behavioral health recovery, as well as greater parental stress and financial instability.

Here's the full report. There's so much to read — about roots of crime, racial disparity, the impact of poverty, health care and more. 

PS: I should have mentioned in original post our article by Kathryn Joyce about the rise of women behind bars and one terrible side effect — a rise of children in foster care.

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