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December 24, 2006

A gendered perspective on the war on drugs

This article from the North County Times (CA), entited "Women are silent casualties of war on drugs," provides an interesting and thoughtful perspective on how tough sentencing laws have particularly impacted women. Here is one data highlight from the article:

America's 25-year war on drugs has taken an exorbitant toll, both human and economic.  Drug arrests have tripled since 1980; as a result, the number of jailed drug offenders in 2000 equaled the total number of inmates in U.S. prisons and jails 25 years ago, according to The Sentencing Project, a research and advocacy group.

By most estimates, women have paid the highest price.  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."

December 24, 2006 at 09:33 AM | Permalink

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