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October 12, 2005

Women and mothers behind bars

This AP story about women offenders in prison is quite an interesting read, and I found especially notable some of the data it reports about prison populations:

Women are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. prison population, a trend fueled by their growing involvement in drug crimes and by longer sentences in general.  But once behind bars, their needs are often overlooked because of tight budgets and the attention given to sex offenders and death-row inmates, advocates say.

Prison and jail officials from around the country are to gather this weekend in Bloomington, Minnesota, to address the rising number of incarcerated women — more than 180,000 in prisons and jails nationwide, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics....

Since 1995, the number of women in state and federal prisons has swelled more than 50 percent, outstripping an increase of about 32 percent for men.  Female jail populations are growing even faster.

Most are mothers. Between 66 and 90 percent have children, depending on the type of institution.  When a mother is locked up, her children usually end up in foster care or living with a relative other than their father.  By contrast, most children with imprisoned fathers stay with their mothers.

UPDATE:  Dan Markel at PrawfsBlawg follows up by noting here that he is co-authoring an interesting-sounding paper that seeks to "articulate which principles should govern accomodations to family interests, particularly in the context of incarceration."   For anyone interested in my pre-Booker take on some related issues, check out Addressing Why: Developing Principled Rationales for Family-Based Departures, 13 Federal Sentencing Reporter 274 (2001).

October 12, 2005 at 02:23 PM | Permalink


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» Family Ties in Prison from PrawfsBlawg
Thanks to the indefatigable Doug Berman, I just came across this article on CNN about how prisons across the country are trying to cope with increasing numbers of women (and specifically mothers) behind bars. As it happens, Ethan, Jennifer Collins (for... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 12, 2005 3:33:49 PM


Student in criminal law I' looking for an articel or story recently to do a 2-3 page paper along with xerox copy of article

Posted by: l craw | Oct 14, 2005 11:10:40 PM

I am looking for some ideas on what kind of questions I can ask on a survey that I have to do on women behind bars...just 5 questions...Thank you

Posted by: Sharry | Apr 16, 2006 3:56:53 AM

I am looking for the actual guidelines used by a judge to incarcerate women, where can I find this? * I do have access to public libraries in Huntington WV. Thank You
You can email me at [email protected]

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