Sunday, December 24, 2006

More women in jail, their children in foster homes

Between 1977 and 2001, figures from the Women's Prison Association show a 592 percent increase in the number of women jailed, from 12,279 to 85,031. According to the WPA, the growth "corresponds directly to the mandatory minimum sentencing laws in effect since the early 1970s. Since more women are convicted for nonviolent, drug-related crimes than for any other, these sentencing policies have had a particularly profound effect on women."

Though men still far outnumber women in arrests for drug-related crimes, women now represent the fastest-growing prison population nationwide for drug offenses. In 1996, the number of female state and federal inmates in jail for drug crimes grew at nearly double the rate of males. In New York State, whose Rockefeller Drug Laws are among the harshest sentencing laws in the country, nearly half of all women in prisons are serving time for drug-related offenses.

Seventy percent of women in jails and 65 percent of women in state prisons are mothers of minor children, according to the National Institute of Corrections. Not surprisingly, 80 percent of children in the foster care system are the offspring of incarcerated parents. Details.


tina said...

Yep, I had one such relative living with me for awhile. It's crazy.

Anonymous said...

i think that these women should think before they act!