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New Report Examines Trends in Female Incarceration

“The number of women in prison is nearly eight times higher than in 1980. In addition to the 213,722 women incarcerated in jails and prisons, one million women are under community supervision, according to a data analysis released today by The Sentencing Project. Incarcerated Women and Girls, 1980-2016 examines trends in female incarceration and finds areas of both concern and hope. While the imprisonment rate for African American women was twice that of white women in 2016, this disparity represents a sharp decline from 2000 when black women were six times as likely to be imprisoned. Since then black women’s imprisonment rate has decreased by 53% while white women’s rate has increased by 44%. Among youth confined in the juvenile justice system, 15%, or 7,293, are girls. As with boys, the number of incarcerated girls has declined considerably, dropping by half since 2001. Similar to adults, girls of color are much more likely to be incarcerated than white girls. Native girls are more than four times as likely, and African American girls are three-and-a-half times as likely as white girls to be incarcerated.  Though many more men and boys are incarcerated in the United States than women and girls, research on female incarceration is critical to understanding the full consequences of mass incarceration and to unraveling the policies and practices that lead to their criminalization.”

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