Increase of Women Population in Prison

2731 words 11 pages
Women in Prison
The growing rate of women in prison has spawned widespread awareness in our society; leading people to question why the percentage multiplied exponentially over the past three decades. In the past, female offenders have not only been compared to their male counterparts, but to society’s view on the role of women; the roles that labeled them as housewives and mothers. But how did these housewives and mothers go from the home to the prisons? The subject of women’s issues has sporadically been discussed in our society, and it has just recently being uncovered that women operate differently than men in situations; and those differences are now starting to effect the growth rate in the population of women in
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Though women make up a small portion of all the people serving time in prison their number is growing at a quicker rate than that of men. The population growth of females in state prisons has far surpassed male growth in the past twenty-five years. The Bureau of Justice Statistics provides statistical data that reveal the rate of increase in the female population in prisons from 1977-2004. Some key findings on this report include: • There was a growth of over 750% in the number of women serving sentences of more than a year, almost double the 388% increase that the men experienced. • Although the size of the gap varies, female prison populations have risen more quickly than male populations in all 50 states, Montana having the highest growth rate of them all. • Several other Mountain states also appear to be particularly tough on women. Idaho and Colorado rank among the top 10 on every scale of female imprisonment, including population growth over the last five years. • Oklahoma is one of six states where women make up at least 10 percent of the prison population, and Mississippi’s population has grown 28 times larger since 1977.

Table 1 summarizes the rise in the population of female offenders in United States prisons from 1980-2004.

This higher growth rate can also be in


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