Womens Prison Association 2006 Report
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Foreword Over the past three decades, as the United States has experienced explosive prison growth, women have been hard hit. Although women have the dubious distinction of being the fastest growing segment of the prison population, scant attention has been paid to their involvement in the criminal justice system. Indeed, even most official sources of criminal justice data do not distinguish between men and women in their analyses, leaving it only to speculation on whether there are any distinctions between the two groups that make a difference. HARD HIT: The Growth in the Imprisonment of Women, 1977 - 2004 is the first study of its kind, analyzing the striking growth in the numbers of women in prison, state-by-state over nearly three decades. The report provides context to the alarming growth trends and reviews what is understood about the phenomena by researchers who study women in the criminal justice system. Anchored by the research of Dr. Natasha A. Frost and accompanied by the analysis of Justice Strategies, HARD HIT is the first in a series of reports to be put out by the Institute on Women & Criminal Justice that will examine the states' treatment of women in the criminal justice system. The aim of these reports is to shed light on the phenomenon of punitiveness - its pervasiveness, its roots, its consequences, and possible responses. The Women's Prison Association is the nation's oldest and largest service organization working with women in the criminal justice system. WPA's work has a dual focus on direct services and systems change. WPA operates a full range of program services to address women's need for livelihood, housing, family, health and well-being, and criminal justice compliance. WPA's newest division, the Institute on Women & Criminal Justice, is a national center for dialogue, research, and information about criminal justice-involved women, their families and communities. By fostering a national conversation on women and criminal justice, the Institute seeks to create breakthroughs in the ways in which our public systems address the issue of women and crime, and to promote innovative solutions and highlight what works. Key Findings HARD HIT: The Growth in the Imprisonment of Women, 1977 - 2004 points to some alarming trends in our nation's incarceration of women. These findings raise crucial questions for further study. • Across the board, the growth has been dramatic. In 1977, the U.S. imprisoned 11,212 women; by 2004, that number had ballooned to 96,125, a 757% increase. In 1977, the United States imprisoned 10 women per 100,000 female residents; in 2004, the rate had grown to 64 per 100,000. • Tremendous state and regional variances exist. While imprisonment rates have soared from coast to coast, there is a remarkable level of variation among states and regions. For example, in 2004, Oklahoma imprisoned 129 of every 100,000 female residents. In contrast, that same year, Massachusetts and Rhode Island imprisoned 11 women per 100,000 female residents. Unless we are to believe that Oklahoma women are more than 10 times more "criminal" than their Massachusetts and Rhode Island counterparts, we have to assume that criminal justice policy and practice are pivotal. From a regional perspective, the Mountain and Southern states stand out as particularly punitive in the imprisonment of women. In fact, the South has historically incarcerated women and men at relatively high rates. In contrast, the Mountain states are showing a growth rate for women that is startling both in its size and in comparison to men. • At the beginning of this century, interesting shifts occur. The last five years covered by this report (1999 - 2004) reflect a period in which our reliance on incarceration was being reconsidered. Many states engaged in sentencing reform and in creating treatment and other alternatives to imprisonment. During this time, some states continued to increase the numbers of women they imprisoned (Florida's prison population, for instance, increased by 1,840 women or 48%), and other states made modest increases (like Alabama's growth of 3%). Significantly, nine states actually experienced a decrease in their female population during this five-year period. Among them are some of the states with the largest prison populations: New York was down by 831 or 23% and New Jersey was down by 392 women or 21%. • Women, families, and communities are devastated by imprisonment. As discussed in Justice Strategies' review of the recent research, millions of women and families in this country have been affected by our nation's heavy reliance on incarceration. The U.S. disproportionately imprisons women of color with few economic resources and many familial responsibilities. This has compounded the hardship experienced in already impoverished communities. The Need for More Research—and Action Women are a small portion of the prison population - roughly 7% nationally, in 2004. So, why should we care? Of course, imprisonment is not "worse" for women than it is for men. However, the incarceration of women creates some different effects that have historically been largely unaddressed in conversations focusing primarily on men. The cycling of women through the criminal justice system has a destabilizing effect not only on the women's immediate families, but on the social networks of their communities. They are, more often than not, primary caretakers of young children and other family members. From the taxpayer's perspective, the price of incarcerating women is not limited to the cost of the prison cell and three meals a day. Locking up women also means paying the tab for putting their children in foster care, treating health and mental health conditions that have worsened during incarceration, and providing public assistance and shelter for women those who are homeless and destitute upon release. For most women who are sent to prison, the more economical and humane response of providing community-based substance abuse and mental health treatment, coupled with increased economic and social supports, would produce a better result. WPA has long maintained that criminal justice and social policy that better served women would also produce better outcomes for men. If, as HARD HIT suggests, women are especially sensitive to shifting trends in imprisonment, we should be looking to the patterns of their involvement in the criminal justice system for clues to improving the system overall. The causes of the trends revealed in this report are not self-evident and warrant additional inquiry. In our next report in the Punitiveness series, the Institute on Women & Criminal Justice will go deeper in to the reasons for the growth in female imprisonment, again stateby-state, examining how offense type, risk of imprisonment, and length of stay in prison contribute to the increase. We hope that this report will contribute to an evolving national conversation about women, communities, and justice. Ann Jacobs, Institute Director Sarah From, Deputy Director May 2006 Part I: Growth Trends and Recent Research by Judith Greene and Kevin Pranis, Justice Strategies Introduction The Institute on Women and Criminal Justice of the Women’s Prison Association is releasing the first volume of The Punitiveness Report, a national study by Dr. Natasha Frost, assistant professor at Northeastern University College of Criminal Justice. Her report presents the first state-by-state compendium of data charting the dramatic increase in the incarceration of women over the past 27 years in the United States. A second volume will look more deeply at factors that increased the risk of imprisonment for women arrested for felony offenses and increased the amount of time spent behind bars. While women comprise just a small segment of all the people serving prison terms in the U.S., their number is rising at a far faster rate than that of men. Incarceration of women has profound impacts on the families and communities left behind. Dr. Frost’s findings should spark a national dialogue about how women are affected by incarceration. Her findings should also motivate policymakers to examine the trends and prospects for reform in their states. Growth Trends and Recent Research Findings is presented as a companion to Dr. Frost’s exhaustive study. It provides a brief overview of recent research that provides context for her findings regarding the increased incarceration of women, and discusses the multitude of problems incarceration presents for women and their children. This report also takes a closer look at growth patterns, regional trends, and how states rank on various measures of female imprisonment. Over the final quarter of the 20th century, U.S. criminal justice policies underwent a period of intense politicization and harsh transformation. Draconian sentencing laws and get-tough correctional policies led to an unprecedented increase in jail and prison populations, driving the United States’ rate of incarceration head and shoulders above that of other developed nations. The imprisonment boom that began in the late 1970s has swelled the state and federal prison system to more than 1.4 million prisoners. Adding those held in local jails and other lockups (juvenile facilities, immigrant detention, etc.) the total number of people behind bars rises to almost 2.3 million—of which seven percent are women.  At the end of 2004, 96,125 women were serving state or federal prison sentences—almost nine times the number in prison in 1977.  National prison population growth trends Female state prison population growth has far outpaced male growth in the past quarter-century. The number of women serving sentences of more than a year grew by 757 percent between 1977 and 2004—nearly twice the 388 percent increase in the male prison population. Although the size of the gap varies, female prison populations have risen more quickly than male populations in all 50 states. The trend has also been persistent, with median annual growth rates for women exceeding growth rates for men in 22 of the last 27 years, including each of the past 11 years.  In part, this is due to the small number of women who were incarcerated at the beginning of the boom relative to the number of men, so that increases show up as larger proportional growth against smaller base figures. Women’s higher growth rate is also due to an increase in the number of women arrested. For example, between 1995 and 2004, arrests of women were up 13 percent while the number of women behind prison bars rose by 53 percent. Female imprisonment rates jumped 36 percent over the same period, compared to an increase of 17 percent for men. Women’s share of the prison population rose from 6.3 percent to 7.2 percent. While the number of women prisoners has soared, the proportion of women convicted of violent offenses has declined since 1979, when they comprised 49 percent of the women in the state prison system.  One-third of the women serving state prison sentences in 2002 were incarcerated for violent offenses, compared to more than half of the men. Drug offenses now account for nearly onethird of women (up from one in 10 in 1979), compared with just one-fifth of men. Male prison populations catch cold while women get pneumonia The rise of the female state prison population has been constant but uneven over the past quarter-century, punctuated by growth spurts in the early and late 1980s and mid-1990s. Median annual growth rates fell after 1995 and have remained in the single digits since then. Nonetheless, many states continue to see significant population growth, including nine where numbers shot up by over 10 percent in 2004. The pattern of growth in female prison populations generally tracks changes in male prison populations, which also underwent periods of rapid expansion in the early and late 1980s. But women have been hit much harder, experiencing growth spikes that reached higher, lasted longer and often began earlier than those affecting men. For example, while the growth rate for male prisoners shot up a little more than twofold between 1980 and 1981, from 5.4 percent to 14 percent, the growth rate for female prisoners increased four-fold, from 3.8 percent to 17 percent. The following year, the male growth rate fell below 12 percent while the female growth rate kept climbing to more than 18 percent. An even more remarkable growth spurt took place between 1987 and 1990. Both the men’s and women’s prison populations began and ended the four-year period with annual growth rates hovering around seven to eight percent. In between, however, annual growth in the women’s prison population hit record levels, topping 25 percent, compared to a peak rate of less than 14 percent for males. To paraphrase the old saying, when the male prison population caught cold, women came down with pneumonia. -!- Median annual change in state prison populations: 1980 to 2004 • , •• 0 I •• • • • .- ,..,--,-,-,..,--,---t-..... --·_ SQl.R<;£,_d _ _ The gap between male and female prison population growth rates has widened recently, producing an annual rate of increase for women that roughly doubled the rate for men in six of the last seven years. The number of women added to the state prison populations each year remains high despite lower growth rates. In fact, the expansion that has taken place since 1999 (11,689 new female prisoners) exceeds the total female state prison population in 1980 (11,113 women). "'nnual ch.nge In number ollem.l••••ts ptlso..... !• • I • = =. , ,~ , .~ - ! "'" • I I - ~ .- ,~ 1 ,~ 0 - II '-r ~ - .,~ #$###~~#'~#~~Rff##i##~#~i# SOURCE' _ 01 J"lIIc. StI...,,,,, I • Regional prison population growth trends National trends play a significant role in patterns of state prison population expansion, as evidenced by the simultaneous growth spurts that took place at the beginning and end of the 1980s. Three in five states saw female prison population growth rates reach a 25-year high-water mark in 1981 (six states), 1982 (six states) or 1989 (14 states). The latter year was an extraordinarily punitive one for women: 43 states saw population increases in the double digits while half saw their numbers jump by more than 25 percent. But growth in women’s prison populations also varies by geographic region.  The Northeast: Turning the corner on female prison population growth? Northeastern states logged extraordinarily rapid growth during the 1980s followed by below-average growth during the 1990s.  The region saw record growth in 1989 when most states saw their female prison population jump by more than a third. Between 1999 and 2004, however, the total number of women housed in Northeastern state prisons fell by 11 percent (976 prisoners), driven by prison population declines in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Northeast: Median annual ch.nge In female st"te prl"on populations .0 " , " 1, ~ '" ," ,• J " • ,. y ,~ 'w ,~ «'/ 'w .- ::~~~CJ -+-'",,-, __ WI.I eO<J<CE ....... "Juoo _~"" """ - ...... ... Iili=i: I :i Ictt :::r~ , , , , " #$~#ff##$#'#$~#ff#'$"I#II# I • The Pacific states: From boom to bust and back Pacific states also saw unusually high rates of growth during the 1980s, including nine years with median growth rates in the double-digits.  The pattern in the years that followed has been erratic. The region’s female prison population actually fell slightly in 1991 but resumed its climb the following year. The turn of the century ushered in a more substantial 1,347-person decrease in the region’s female prison population, reflected in every Pacific state but Oregon. But by the end of 2004, the decline had been erased by the addition of 2,003 women to prisons in Pacific states. --. !, .. ~/\ A-/~ A ~ y ,,,,,I --Pacific: Median annual change in state prison populations "' • , ,. • ,- ,- ,- "'"'.- '" _ _ _ _ _ u$. P•• ifIc slSl.. , Ann ... ! ."''''U.ln number of t"",.... slSle prl........ "00 ,i "00 • ,I !,• • ..f I ~ i---' ~ ~ • HI: 0 ~~ - -I .~ ~ .~ :t,f;j'.nu,;:fUnUn~UIU#1 I • SOURCE. But-. 01 J.."", S.-;oIlCS The Midwest and South: Setting the national growth trend Depending on how one looks at it, women’s prison populations in the Midwest and South either set the national trend or tracked it closely, rising rapidly in the early and late 1980s and mid-1990s.  Southern states (excluding Texas) were more likely to see below-average growth rates during the 1980s, but the region has nearly matched national median rates since then. Midwestern states’ median growth rates have hovered at or below those of the nation as a whole since 1999 with the exception of 2004, when the region’s annual growth rate shot to more than 8 percent. The number of women added to Southern prisons each year remains substantial. The region recorded its second-largest annual increase in 1999 (2,007 women), and its fourth-largest increase took place in 2002 (1,853 women). Almost a quarter (23 percent) of Southern female prison population growth since 1979 took place in the last five years. Midwesl; Mudian annual change in alale pri50n pop<Jlaliona .m ... ~-------------, •~####~~#~~~~#;,~~;~~~#~~# / SOI.R<:t:._ .. . . . . - _ So<lIh (. . <Iudl"" T....): "",,,,,,,I growtIIln ".mbo, of 10m." ..... p<IoonefS -.------------, • II~" ###;;;;#;,###;;;;;;;;#;## / SOUlCE._d _ _ The Mountain states: Speeding ahead Every region has seen women’s prison populations increase by leaps and bounds. But the pace and persistence of growth in the Mountain states set the region apart from the rest of the country. Over the past 27 years, the total female prison population of the Mountain states has risen by 1,600 percent—twice the national population growth rate of 757 percent. The explosion of women’s prison populations in the Mountain states began in the 1980s and has continued in recent years. The region’s total female prison population has increased by 56 percent since 1999—four times the 13 percent increase felt nationally. Fully 38 percent of the growth in the Mountain states’ female prison population over the past quarter-century occurred during the last five years. Mountain states: Median antlUlOI change In state prison populalions .. , ~ ~ •f! ! ..... "'li ,~ ~ ~ ~i \ 1\ . ,. . '. ,,:/:. '. ,~ , .I\/'v-,_ ,_ >IlOO """ "'" SOUOCE: ...... ol ..... . , . _ I: I-t--- i:f---- i~.bUIUI.t .111 I """""""""",;,,; / $OO..O<CE _ d ..... , . _ Tough, tougher, toughest: Mountain and Southern states lead the rise in female imprisonment rates Analysis of median incarceration rates for the various regions shows similar patterns with some critical differences. Southern states experienced the smallest proportional growth in female imprisonment rates. But because the South began the 27-year period with much higher rates than the rest of the country—a median of 11 per 100,000 residents compared to a median of five per 100,000 residents elsewhere— increased use of incarceration had a greater impact there. While the typical Midwest state added 40 female prisoners for every 100,000 residents between 1979 and 2004, and the typical Pacific state added 46 per 100,000, the median incarceration rate for Southern states grew by 57 per 100,000—second only to a Mountain state increase of 77 per 100,000. As for the Northeastern states, it took a decade of breakneck growth to reach the place where Southern states started in 1977. Median female imprisonment rate by region: 1977 10 2004 ~~--------~ State variance in the use of imprisonment for women The use of imprisonment for women varies enormously by state as well as by region. 129 of every 100,000 women in Oklahoma are serving a state prison sentence while Massachusetts imprisons 11 women for every 100,000 female state residents. Women make up over 12 percent of state prisoners in Montana—nearly four times their 3.2 percent share of Rhode Island’s prison population. A handful of states—including Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire and North Dakota—have seen a greater than 20-fold increase in their female prison populations since 1977.  Michigan and North Carolina, by contrast, experienced comparatively “modest” four-fold growth over the same period. The measures employed in the following comparative analysis of states—the female imprisonment rate, the female proportion of the prison population, and female prison population growth—help us identify patterns and trends that can guide future research exploring how and why the extent of female imprisonment varies so greatly among states. Each of these measures captures a different facet of the extent of female imprisonment and how it has changed over time. Used together, the measures pinpoint states where sentencing and correctional policies and trends appear to have fallen harder, or less hard, on women. Ultimately, they help to highlight both positive trends as well as unmet opportunities to reduce costs and improve outcomes. How states stack up States stack up differently based on the measure used to compare them. Louisiana has the nation’s third-highest female imprisonment rate (103 per 100,000 residents) but women’s share of the state’s prison population (6.5 percent) falls below the national median (7 percent). New Hampshire ranks third in female prison population growth (up 5,850 percent since 1977) yet the state’s female imprisonment rate (18 per 100,000) remains the fourth-lowest in the nation. The chart at the end of this section presents state statistics and ranks across all three measures (including measures of population growth over two different time periods). A handful of states, however, stand among the nation’s “toughest” on multiple measures of female imprisonment. Trends in these states should be of particular interest to researchers, policymakers and advocates who are concerned about the damage that imprisonment can cause to women, their families and their communities. Heading the list is Montana, which devotes by far the largest share of its prison beds to women. Montana’s female prison population has grown at the fastest rate in the nation since 1977 and its female imprisonment rate (102 per 100,000) ranks fourth nationwide. 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. Wyoming devotes the secondlargest share of prison space to women and imprisons them at the ninth-highest rate in the nation. Arizona boasts the nation’s seventh-leading female imprisonment rate and has seen its female prison population jump by more than 60 percent since 1999. Among Southern states, Oklahoma and Mississippi merit special attention. Not only do they imprison women at the highest rates in the nation, but Oklahoma is also 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. Three Midwestern states and one Pacific state demand also deserve notice, each for a different set of reasons. Women are heavily overrepresented in South Dakota prisons compared to rest of the nation, and the state’s incarceration and growth rates are well above average. Missouri imprisons women at the eighth-highest rate in the nation and also ranks poorly on the other scales of female imprisonment. North Dakota has a comparatively low female imprisonment rate but devotes over 10 percent of its prison beds to women—a population whose numbers have shot up 6,350 percent since 1977 and doubled over the past five years. Women also comprise over 10 percent of prisoners in Hawaii and, despite an 8 percent drop in its female prison population since 1999, the Pacific state ranks fourth in population growth over the past 27 years. On the other end of the spectrum are several states that have made much less extensive use of prisons for women. Rhode Island lands at the bottom by nearly every measure. Women comprise just over three percent of Rhode Island’s prison population and are imprisoned at a rate of 11 per 100,000 residents despite more than four-fold growth in the number of female prisoners since 1977. Neighboring Massachusetts is also remarkable for its equally low incarceration rate; the small share of prison beds the state devotes to women (4.3 percent); and a 9 percent reduction in the female prison population that has taken place in the last halfdecade. New York and Michigan follow Rhode Island and Massachusetts, devoting a slightly higher proportion of prison beds to women and imprisoning women at significantly higher but still below-average rates. The growth rate of Michigan’s female prison population over the past 27 years was the second-lowest in the nation (five percent per year on average) and not far above the growth rate for men. New York claimed the ninth-slowest growth rate as well as the most significant drop in its female prison population since the turn of the century. Several other Northeastern states, including New Hampshire, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, fall near the bottom of most female imprisonment scales. The Garden State recorded the second-largest female prison population reduction over the last five years. New Hampshire, as previously mentioned, has maintained a low female imprisonment rate despite huge proportional growth in its women’s prison population. Maryland and North Carolina deserve mention for another reason. Both states have experienced unusually slow growth in their female prison populations since 1977, bringing imprisonment rates that were once among the nation’s highest into the bottom ranks. Measures of state use of imprisonment for women State Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Imprisonment rate: Proportion of all Prison population growth: Prison population growth: 2004 prisoners: 2004 1977 to 2004 1999 to 2004 Rate Rank % female Rank Growth Rank Growth Rank 71 15 6.6% 32 645% 35 3% 39 55 25 6.6% 30 729% 32 31% 24 89 7 8.2% 16 1261% 13 62% 9 65 19 6.7% 28 900% 24 17% 29 61 22 6.6% 31 1522% 9 1% 41 83 10 9.4% 8 2539% 6 57% 10 44 33 6.0% 39 1010% 18 -3% 45 51 28 5.3% 43 424% 43 0% 42 64 20 6.6% 29 551% 39 48% 16 77 11 6.7% 27 596% 38 32% 22 69 16 10.5% 3 3029% 4 -8% 47 93 6 10.1% 5 2211% 7 62% 8 43 34 6.2% 35 893% 25 -2% 44 59 23 7.9% 19 1347% 12 54% 11 50 29 8.9% 10 801% 27 40% 19 45 32 6.9% 26 597% 37 9% 35 69 17 8.4% 14 949% 21 32% 23 103 3 6.5% 33 1000% 19 5% 37 18 48 6.1% 37 757% 31 114% 1 39 41 5.0% 44 353% 48 13% 30 11 49 4.3% 48 382% 45 -9% 48 Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming Federal 41 21 107 85 102 39 77 18 33 56 28 40 41 54 129 54 28 11 66 75 63 101 42 25 71 42 48 47 84 37 46 2 8 4 40 12 47 42 24 44 39 38 27 1 26 43 50 18 13 21 5 35 45 14 36 30 31 9 7 U.S. Average 64 SOURCE: Bureau of Justice Statistics 4.3% 6.2% 8.2% 8.1% 12.2% 8.6% 7.8% 4.9% 5.5% 8.9% 4.4% 5.7% 10.4% 7.1% 10.0% 7.5% 4.4% 3.2% 6.3% 9.4% 7.4% 7.2% 8.5% 5.5% 7.6% 7.9% 8.8% 6.1% 10.6% 49 36 15 17 1 12 20 45 42 9 47 40 4 25 6 22 46 50 34 7 23 24 13 41 21 18 11 38 2 293% 625% 2711% 1484% 23550% 377% 1251% 5850% 717% 930% 445% 282% 6350% 452% 1237% 776% 763% 362% 417% 1511% 721% 1141% 1573% 789% 978% 477% 909% 863% 1213% 49 36 5 11 1 46 14 3 34 22 42 50 2 41 15 29 30 47 44 10 33 17 8 28 20 40 23 26 16 4% 54% 25% 33% 80% 44% 20% 2% -21% 81% -23% 30% 102% 12% -1% 68% 12% 5% 9% 53% 39% 11% 54% 95% 42% 18% 86% -4% 51% 6.4% 503% 27% 7.0% 757% 17% 38 12 26 21 6 17 27 40 49 5 50 25 2 32 43 7 31 36 34 14 20 33 13 3 18 28 4 46 15 New Century finds women leading opposing incarceration trends Women’s prison population growth outstripped growth in the men’s population in every state during the past 27 years. A different trend has emerged since the end of 1999. Women continue to be disproportionately impacted in states where overall growth rates remain high. But among states that experienced little or no prison population growth, a large majority saw growth rates for female prisoners fall below rates for males. Women led the growth trend in 29 of 30 states where the total prison population (male and female) rose by 10 percent or more over the last half-decade. The opposite was true of states that experienced slower growth or a net decline in their total prison population—13 of 20 saw their male prison population rise more quickly, or decline more slowly, than their female population. The differences could not be starker. In North Dakota, West Virginia and Oregon— states where the total prison population has jumped by more than a third since 1999—the female prison population is growing at twice the rate of the male population. On the other hand, New York and New Jersey have watched prison populations fall by more than 10 percent, led by even sharper drops in the number of women behind prison bars (23 percent and 21 percent, respectively).  Women’s imprisonment is not driving growth trends in most states, since their share of the total population, while growing, remains relatively small. Instead, the data suggest that women’s prison populations may be especially sensitive to the factors that drive rapid growth in the overall prison population. c -i --- on , , '"' to ""'" I -----------------------------I ---i --I I • , • ,~ , , •• .~ ~ ~ ~. ,- - - - .- SOU'ICf,_.. _ _ .~ What can research tell us about the problem? The question of whether the increased involvement of women in the criminal justice system reflects actual changes in their involvement in an expanding range of activities considered criminal or changes in law enforcement and sentencing policies and practices has received some attention. The 1970s saw a great deal of debate in the media over whether the women’s movement for equal rights would produce an era of “liberated” women criminals who would venture into serious, violent criminal activities. Some academics claimed that increased arrests of women were evidence that the feminist movement was driving new trends in women’s involvement in crime.  Others countered that close analysis of arrest data indicated that increased arrests of women were largely occurring in categories conceived as traditionally female such as shoplifting, prostitution and passing bad checks.  Debate about women’s involvement in violent crime was freshened in the early 1990s with the charge that women in New York City were becoming more involved in violent street crime.  It was argued that the high incidence of homicides and imprisonment among young men in these neighborhoods had increased opportunities for young women to enter the “informal drug economy” as dealers. Women were described as responding to the same social and economic dynamics that drove increased levels of violence among men, making gender a “less salient factor.” Controversy over the role of women in New York’s epidemic of violent street crime faded as reports of violent crime in the City plummeted over the next decade. Meda Chesney-Lind, a prominent scholar and outspoken advocate for the needs of girls and women in the criminal justice system, contends that pro-arrest policies for police handling of domestic violence incidents have contributed to an unwarranted rise in arrests of women for violent offenses.  She cites large increases in domestic violence arrests of women during the 1990s in Maryland and California, and points out that increases in arrests of women for assault during this period did not track arrests of women for murder—an arrest category that could be presumed to increase if women were becoming more assaultive. In fact, arrests of women for murder have steadily declined. In the federal criminal justice system, draconian mandatory minimum sentencing laws and rigid sentencing guidelines have increased the proportion of women who receive prison sentences and the length of time women spend behind bars. The federal sentencing reforms of the mid-1980s have resulted in higher rates of incarceration of women for economic offenses, and have drastically increased the length of incarceration for drug offenses. Myrna Raeder charges that these reforms have “subverted the earlier nonincarcerative model of female sentencing,” where women tended to receive probation or shorter prison terms.  She argues that a defendant’s primary responsibilities for care of children should be taken into account by judges at sentencing out of concern that imprisonment rests enormous hardships on them. Raeder contends that while such a policy might benefit more women than men (because women more often fill this familial role) no true affront to gender equity would stem from this accommodation. Most recent research literature devoted to analysis of women in the criminal justice system presents four distinct themes to describe the etiology of women’s criminal behaviors and their personal and social problems. First, most women in the criminal justice system come from neighborhoods that are entrenched in poverty and largely lacking in viable systems of social support. Second, alarmingly large numbers of these women have experienced very serious physical and/or sexual abuse, often commencing when they were young children. Third, as adults, most of these women are plagued with high levels of physical and mental health problems as well as substance abuse issues. Often these problems are combined and compounded. Fourth, the great majority of the women who have suffered from these deprivations, histories of trauma and abuse, and health deficits are mothers—and they are far more likely than men in the criminal justice system to be the sole support and caregivers for their children. The relationship between violent physical and sexual abuse and women’s incarceration has been traced by Angela Browne in her research on the high rates of women in prison with histories of abuse.  She reports strong associations between histories of childhood sexual abuse and violence and subsequent problems such as alcohol and drug abuse; involvement in prostitution; involvement with violent intimates who are involved in other criminal activities; and arrests for criminal offenses. Beth Richie has drawn from the life histories of women in jail to illustrate a link between “culturally-constructed gender-identity development, violence against women in intimate relationships, and women’s participation in illegal activities.”  She argues that “gender entrapment” of African American women—violence from intimate partners resulting in “acute injuries, chronic pain, sexual degradation, and emotional trauma”—can lead them to commit crimes. Most women of color entering the criminal justice system come from economically distressed communities lacking in social supports. Much of the drug abuse that characterizes these women’s involvement in criminal behavior is understood as “self medication” used to ease the pain and suffering brought about by the circumstances of their life histories. The flood of crack cocaine that hit urban areas such as New York City in the late 1980s served to increase women’s involvement in street-level prostitution, a mainstay survival strategy for women addicts along with low-level drug dealing and petty property crimes.  The war on drugs and other drivers of female prison population growth Other efforts to explain the sharp increase in women’s imprisonment have focused on the “war on drugs,” with its emphasis on street-level sweeps of those engaged in the drug trade and harsh mandatory sentencing. The crackdown on drug crime was sold to the American public as the answer to an escalating epidemic of male violence. Yet despite their roles as relatively minor players in the drug trade, women—disproportionate numbers of them African American and Latina—have been “caught in the net” of increasingly punitive policing, prosecutorial, and sentencing policies.  Once in the system, women often have little choice but to accept plea bargains and then face mandatory minimum sentencing laws that restrict judges from mitigating the impact of their sentencing decisions in consideration of their family situations or their obvious need for substance abuse treatment. Analysis of national and state corrections data provide support for this explanation. The proportion of female state prisoners convicted of drug offenses has risen from just 11 percent in 1979 to 32 percent at the end of 2002.  By contrast, 21 percent of male prisoners were serving time for drug offenses in 2002. 1!!1IIn.._d..rurrtllrcf...,OId aI..,__IOI...... JIII. .allan n 2ID2 ~abll'a. ~Jn crIIn- lIt.. ................ .-.II..... "I •• I WaIII" 1ft i'lL"" i.e.2aIl 11.'" j2j~ Rc*bI'w 1•.D .....t a.oA_rt •"0..3JJ 14.a II.R W.nII" 1.-. a.llXUII_ ........ ~ll:IIIlIItyD..... SJ__4OJ IIUlJJ 21'." _.11:11 1:31.«11 1. • I.a e.• 2. • fl." ra.• •• •• 1.1DO 1. a 1.lDJ ~a. 2. a. 1. lAm I • ID B& 2.1111 ZlI.g - 1I.1Dl II.•• 2 .... 217'A 81111 I.nII"tl' lItertar' .-tIIn I.... faud at.-Dnm"", .D .1Jl 3.D 1.. 2. • 1_ lAm .fOR 2. *- -.111 ao.7'i ••1110 :III" I2.D 7.1" ..I- 11" 1--401 a.• a a. 1.1••7tII 100. • llIUlI_ If.laII~ Dfllilll Gt.i1...-DIII. "'0-'-' .IDJ 3. • 1•• l.2IIJ 71_ 1• • SOURCE: Bureau of Justice Statistics. “Prisoners in 2004.” Washington, DC: Department of Justice The burden of increased incarceration for drug sales has fallen more heavily on women of color than on white women. An overall increase of 433 percent in the female drug prisoner population between 1986 and 1991 was comprised of a 241 percent increase for white women, a 328 percent increase for Latina women, and a staggering 828 percent increase for African American women.  Barbara Bloom maintains that the intersection of race, class and gender puts lowincome women of color, especially African American women, in “triple jeopardy” and contributes to their disproportionate incarceration. Cultural stereotypes limit their access to programs and services that could help them improve their economic circumstances, strengthen their family units, and avoid criminal involvement.  Natalie Sokoloff contends that since African American women—who comprise 12 percent of the female population in the U.S.—now comprise more than 50 percent of women in prison, the “war on drugs” has become a “war on poor black women.”  The impact of drug enforcement on women’s incarceration appears to vary among different state sentencing regimes. In New York, a state characterized by Marc Mauer as operating a “drug-driven criminal justice system,” drug offenses accounted for 91 percent of the increase in the number of women sentenced to prison from 1986 to 1995. In Minnesota, where a structured sentencing guidelines system affords judges more discretion than is provided New York’s judges under the inflexible Rockefeller Drug Laws, drug offenses accounted for just 26 percent of the increase in women’s imprisonment.  Women arrested for involvement in the drug trade tend to play peripheral or minimal roles, selling small amounts to support a habit, or simply living with intimates who engage in drug sales.  Once arrested under mandatory minimum drug laws, women face intense pressure to plea bargain but are likely to have little or no information about larger drug market operations to use as bargaining chips. Mandatory minimum drug laws remove the discretion that judges might otherwise use to take account of mitigating factors such as a woman’s role giving primary support and care to children or to elder relatives. The escalating “war on drugs” has often been stoked with inflamed portrayals of drug-involved women in the popular media. In the mid-1980s, pregnant addicts giving birth to ailing “crack babies” became drug-enforcement icons. Twenty years later there is scant evidence to substantiate the dire predictions of permanent and severe damage to their children due to their drug use. Neither hysteria about “crack babies” nor increased resources for drug court programs has produced a significant effort to increase access to effective drug treatment for pregnant women. Yet current media depictions of women addicted to methamphetamine are fueling the same hysteria with respect to pregnant women’s drug use.  The drug war has been a major driver of female prison population growth but not the only one. Between 1995 and 2004, arrests of adult women for drug offenses rose by 48 percent compared to 23 percent growth for men.  But arrests of women for violent offenses were also up by 6.3 percent in contrast to a nearly 17 percent decline for men. .........:........._a..... .. • .........---- ....... ....... . ............ ......... ... ..... _ . ..,. ... .... .. . ............. ... ..... .. ... .... ..... --........ .... .. ...... ...-. --.... ... -.- .... ...... ... ...... 11--: ... ........ -..... ..... .. .... .. ._.;.... _..... --..... ....... - ...... ...... .... -.. .. .... ..... .... .... .. ... ..,... ......... ........ ... ... .. -- ... .. .... ........ ... ... ... -' .............. .... .. .. ... ...... ...... ..... a..:: ... . .. -1iiiIi 0-... . . . . . ......... -,.~ IIIIiiI ..,. ....... n•• d .111 .......... , ~ • _ft• _I AlII [I. . . . . . . . .1. . . . "'1 ' .. , 'M. . . . . . ~ '111M "ft_ &3IlI1 U. ~ 1IaLIII . . . . . . . . . , rt..... rna..-....: ~... 41_ .....t a. _tlr.II. . ~ . G.W ~ ~ -''11' ~ 111' . . . . . . . . ._ ........ 1... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . _ ..... 1!~!1-"-.MIIII_ aa..................... , 4I,1Iri ,......... 11ft 'If'" -llI.a .....,. aJIIII -:: ..t.IlIlI1 ..a. ~ 'IMI!I :v. . . . . . . .. - - . f-.l1iraIIII .bI.U". . . . . . 1IaLIIIII,. . . . . . . CL_ "' a- • §-- a.. • ..,. 41.- JE' :lIN ~ ~ 'IIUII , . J!IUDI! '11.t ..... ....... ...... IIZII!t -GIl llIIIIb. . . GAIl a.- UIH " all .'&N ~ I.~ ·tt_ 4IN I.'" .....,. ........ ...,. IiILIIII ••.. .~ .,. 41.MI 11.11' 'M~. ~ _till oa. .....: .... 4UI .'I4B ttJII lUI ....I ~.t. ". ..,. t...... o4R .. ....... Lt.Mlll'l ... tr_ SOURCE: FBI. “Crime in the United States—2004.” Washington, DC: Department of Justice While arrests of adult women between 1995 and 2004 have increased by 13 percent overall, their arrests for the more serious “index” offenses (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson) have declined by 3 percent. The main share of increase in arrests of women for violent index crime was in the category of aggravated assaults. Arrests of women for murder during the period actually declined by 12 percent. In terms of women’s share of overall arrests, the pattern appears relatively stable over the decade, increasing from 20 percent to 23 percent. For more serious index crime, women’s share rose from 24 percent to 27 percent. The vast majority of women’s arrests are for lower-level offenses, with 82 percent of women’s arrests falling into the less serious “non-index” category. This includes a large number of arrests for drug violations, as well as minor offenses typically thought to be “women’s crimes,” such as shoplifting and welfare fraud. While the FBI arrest data displayed above show a 6 percent increase in arrests of women for violent index offenses between 1995 and 2004, data available from the National Crime Victimization Survey show no significant increase in actual violent victimizations by women for the period.  ....ltll _or..... waF F• • 3I¥WIlnMilPWoIINd 01..... II0n.*J t_ t_ t., t_ t_ ,. D-.II __• .........n_ e-FIIlId L'1:II"'1 illllrl. . . . . . . . . .... ..,....... M3In MI_.-v 1'*- ,..." "1.lldllD~ _...." - ,..." AlI&arlldi __ .. .. .. .. .. I I t,. DII tr" tl.2 tU tU tar tl.t 14.1 t ..... irA 2.S 111A tt.t 2U t7A 'U tl.ll 17.1 tr.ll tr. ~ tl.2 taD tU tr. .....3 4.11 U SA 0.0 1.1 U 1DA 111A 1'I.G 1.1 t2.11 tllA tu u 1..3 U.l tU tas t_U_ 1.0 I". tU 11.0 u I. tU t4.3 t. 2..3 • .2 tU tu u ,.0 tU u a.a tr.2 t1.3 tl.l lI.t 12.. 1.... 1U 1lot 11.2 11.11 1U 21.3 21.D 8.1 u u J"U t1.t 2QI U U ,. i'''',. U ... taD tM 11.1 1&2 1U 1U tl.1 ,. ..,. .... am ... ,.. ... . 27.1 tU 'IlID3 tr.. tM tal 3.r :u ~a., 1104 tU u ... iU ItA 1.2 :1.2 ta, 14.2 1104 l.3 t4.t 27.. 1:1.2 '-2 a, au 1U 'Il1l3ll:1I1 ... 2DDI .............1a......__. _ _ SOURCE: NCVS. “Criminal Victimization in the United States - Statistical tables” Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics The social costs of women’s incarceration National Profile of Women Offenders A profile based on national data for women offenders reveals the following characteristics: • • • • • • • • • Disproportionately women of color. In their early to mid-30s. Most likely to have been convicted of a drug-related offense. From fragmented families that include other family members who also have been involved with the criminal justice system. Survivors of physical and/or sexual abuse as children and adults. Individuals with significant substance abuse problems. Individuals with multiple physical and mental health problems. Unmarried mothers of minor children. Individuals with a high school or general equivalency diploma (GED) but limited vocational training and sporadic work histories. SOURCE: NIC: “Gender-Responsive Strategies” This profile of women in the criminal justice system clearly illustrates their multiple needs. Joanne Belknap reports that as prisoners, women are disadvantaged in terms of access to educational, vocational, and recreational programs, as well as to healthcare.  A paucity of services and programs for women in prison has been justified by the high cost, given women’s small numbers relative to men behind bars. Her research documents inadequate access to healthcare and program services. She found differences among women’s programming needs according to their level of substance abuse, their race, and the length of their prison term. African American women had much higher rates of participation in education and drug programs, and were far more likely to request access to vocational training. Belknap also identified a need for more programs to help women deal with histories of sexual and physical abuse. Added to the many issues, problems and barriers women share with men at reentry from prison, women must struggle with reunification of their families. More than 70 percent of women in prison have children. Even before a mother’s arrest and separation from the family unit, many children will have experienced emotional hardship associated with parental substance abuse and economic instability. While she is incarcerated they suffer additional trauma, anxiety, guilt, shame and fear.  More than half of mothers in prison have no visits with their children for the duration of their time behind bars.  Children are generally subject to instability and uncertainly while their mothers are imprisoned. On average, the children of incarcerated mothers will live with at least two different caregivers during the period of their incarceration. More than half will experience separation from their siblings.  More than 80 percent of mothers in prison plan to reunify their families upon release, but accomplishing this goal is often very difficult. Prior to a mother’s arrest and incarceration, the typical family unit survived on an income of less than $500 per month.  Generally lacking adequate job skills and an acceptable record of past employment, most women are ill-prepared to support a family upon their release from prison. Moreover, the communities to which they return are ill-prepared to receive them. Dina Rose and Todd Clear’s groundbreaking research has documented that the removal of women from their neighborhoods through incarceration has a disproportionate affect on the community because of the multiple roles they play. Rose and Clear’s research also documents the disproportionate concentration of people returning from prison to a relatively small number of urban neighborhoods within large cities.  These neighborhoods are stressed by a lack of economic and social capital. Most residents are beleaguered with the challenges of daily survival and are not prepared to stretch their meager resources to accommodate the needs of their returning friends and relatives. Natalie Sokoloff has examined the broad impact of mass incarceration on African American women—women in prison; those left behind in communities when their loved-ones and friends are sent to prisons; and women who leave prison to reenter the communities they left behind.  Incarceration of both women and men from poor communities removes the contributions they were making—income, childcare, elder care and emotional support—from the families they leave behind. The Legal Action Center has cataloged the many ways that a women’s criminal record may restrict access to vital resources when she returns from prison: denial of public housing; denial of welfare benefits and food stamps; denial of financial assistance for education; and barriers to employment.  These post-conviction penalties constitute an additional layer of punishment that endures far beyond the prison sentence handed down by a judge. Policies that make a difference Many advocates for rational criminal justice policies worried that the “prison boom” and its attendant spiral into harsh punitiveness would never abate. Six years into the new century, we see that crime rates have plummeted, and public attitudes about criminal justice issues have experienced a remarkable shift. Over the past few years most states in the U.S. have struggled with a severe fiscal crisis. In the face of declining revenues, policymakers—both Republicans and Democrats—have been re-thinking many of the costly correctional policies they had embraced when revenues were booming. A clear majority of states have embraced one or more constructive measures to roll back harsh laws and policies. Most are experiencing a far more moderate rate of prison population growth. In 31 states policymakers have introduced major reforms in their effort to cut costs while improving the effectiveness of their sentencing and correctional systems. At least 20 states have rolled back mandatory minimum sentences or restructured other harsh penalties enacted in preceding years to get tough on low-level drug offenders or non-violent lawbreakers. Legislators in at least 24 states have eased prison population pressures with mechanisms to shorten time served in prison, speed the release of prisoners who pose little risk to public safety, and penalize those who violate release conditions without returning them to prison.  State revenue performance improved somewhat in 2004 but many state officials are continuing on a trajectory of reform.  While some states, as well as the federal criminal justice system, still remain on the same old “get tough” course, a handful of states have turned the corner and begun to significantly downsize their prison systems. Given that the majority of women in the prison system are sentenced for nonviolent crimes that stem from drug abuse and economic marginalization, women should be a key focus for policymakers as they craft more humane and cost effective alternatives to incarceration. The prevalence of nonviolent conviction offenses and the lower recidivism rates experienced by women after release from prison indicate that decarceration efforts targeting women would present few risks to public safety. And the status of many women as primary caregivers to their children should weigh heavily in favor of diverting them to community-based programs designed to enhance their ability to lead self-sufficient, successful lives in the community. Indeed, efforts in a few states to reduce reliance on incarceration suggests that just as the get-tough excesses of the 1980s and 1990s have had greater impact on women, strategies that reverse their effects should bring greater relief for women. For example, enactment of Proposition 36 in 2000 by voters in California has diverted tens of thousands of people arrested for possession of drugs. By 2001 the number of women sentenced to prison had dropped by 10 percent, and correctional managers attributed Proposition 36 as the largest factor driving the decline.  Early in 2003 the Department of Corrections was able to close the Northern California Women’s Facility at Stockton, with savings expected to total $31.6 million by July 2006.  In New York, reduced levels of crime and arrests—combined with a series of measures such as increased “merit time”  for drug prisoners and “presumptive release”  for many prisoners serving time in prison for nonviolent crimes—have contributed to six straight years of downsizing in the state prison system. The prison population dropped from almost 73,000 in 1999 to about 63,000 today. New York’s downsizing appears to be impacting women—whose numbers fell by 23 percent between 1999 and 2004—at higher rates than men, who saw a 12 percent decline.  Supervision conditions set by probation and parole authorities can scuttle a woman’s best efforts to comply with an overload of rigid rules and requirements. Policy changes designed to reduce technical violation rates, such as the use of intermediate sanctions, should have favorable results for women, since many are revoked to prison for violations of community supervision requirements related to substance abuse or conflicts between reporting requirements and family responsibilities. Efforts to break the cycle of crime and incarceration for women should be focused on helping them to learn more effective ways to cope with the stresses they face, strengthening their social and familial support networks, and enhancing their access to education and employment opportunities. Substance abuse treatment and other program interventions for women must be gender-responsive. Confrontational therapeutic techniques designed to break down the denial and defenses of men are likely to be counterproductive for women with histories of extreme psychological, physical and sexual trauma. Alternative programs for women must take account of the family responsibilities women bear. Women are typically required to separate from their children when they enter residential treatment. Intervention programs designed for women should be designed with the understanding that they and their families are often burdened with pressures from conflicting and inflexible requirements of multiple agencies. Criminal justice, welfare and child welfare agencies may set competing or conflicting goals and conditions for women, while limiting or denying access to essential services needed to stabilize and maintain the family unit.  The problems have become particularly acute since the mid-1990s federal legislative “reforms” imposed a thicket of barriers to family preservation and women’s recovery. These include the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which accelerates termination of parental rights to children in foster care; and the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which permanently bars anyone with a drug-related felony conviction from receiving federal cash assistance and food stamps.  Federal law further restricts Temporary Aid to Needy Families and Supplemental Social Security Income to people who violate conditions of probation or parole.  When women are released from prison they face the same barriers to reentry as men—social stigmatization; lack of adequate housing; few or no employment opportunities; and denial of public benefits and services. Social reintegration is difficult enough when people return from prison to the high-poverty neighborhoods they left behind when they entered prison. Caught in a “catch-22,” many women cannot obtain government aid to secure adequate housing because they do not have custody of their children—and they cannot secure custody of their children because they do not have adequate housing. Ann Jacobs maintains reentry services should be coordinated to address the multiple challenges that women face.  Reentry planning must not prioritize one or two dimensions (e.g., substance abuse treatment and/or employment) over other dimensions (e.g., housing needs, family reunification and/or problems of past sexual abuse) that, if left unaddressed, can lead to relapse and recidivism. WPA has devised a reentry “matrix” to illustrate how planning for successful reentry must incorporate strategies that simultaneously address at least five domains, or basic life areas, keyed to moving a women forward through three phases of reintegration: .SX LlFI-..sIt' • II .... -~ ....... I. .• _.- ,....... ,. ,......I. -- - --- --- -----......_,.,.._--" ",. ,- ._=~ , ~ .... ~ ' 1_.._ ~- ,to I I SOURCE: Improving the Odds: Women in Community Corrections WPA The matrix makes it clear that no single agency in government or the community service sector can fill all of a woman’s reentry needs; a coordinated effort is needed. Further, to the extent that we create these coordinated community supports, we will also be preventing women from coming into contact with the criminal justice and child welfare systems in the first place. Conclusion During the past quarter-century, we have witnessed a truly extraordinary rise in the number of women behind bars—at a rate of growth that far exceeds an already staggering increase in the male prison population. The burden of the expanding female prison population has not been borne equally. Women in Oklahoma are over ten times more likely to be serving a state prison sentence than counterparts in Massachusetts or Rhode Island. While the number of women imprisoned in other parts of the country shot up 800 percent, the number in Mountain states’ prisons leapt 1,600 percent. The majority of women in the U.S. prison system are serving sentences for nonviolent drug and property offenses. Many are incarcerated as a result of the overly harsh laws and policies adopted at the height of the “war on drugs.” Yet recent national research on public preferences about crime and corrections indicates strong support—by a two to one margin—for measures that address the causes of crime over strict sentencing. Most Americans favor mandatory drug treatment and community service rather than prison—even for those who sell small amounts of drugs.  From both an economic and public safety standpoint, the advantages of employing substance-abuse treatment and gender-responsive services instead of prison for such women are clear. Incarcerating women does not solve the problems that underlie their involvement in the criminal justice system. Their imprisonment creates enormous turmoil and suffering for their children. What makes far more sense is sensible sentencing reforms and public investment in effective drug treatment and gender-responsive services to aid women who seek to live law-abiding lives and provide a healthy and stable home for their children. WPA’s “matrix” approach to reentry can serve just as well as a model for assisting women who might otherwise face incarceration to stabilize themselves and their families, and to attain self-sufficiency and successful lives in their communities. Supporting such a process requires understanding how poverty, trauma and victimization (past and present) and bad choices can combine to propel women into substance abuse and criminal involvement. Assisting them effectively means providing access to coordinated services that address these multiple issues simultaneously. The experience of the last five years demonstrates that continued female prison population growth is not inevitable, and also that measures to reign in prison population growth may be especially beneficial to women. Policymakers and practitioners are in dire need of better information on the causes and consequences of, and alternatives to, this rapid growth in the number of women behind bars. More research is needed to tell us how prisons are being used for women: what kinds of offenses are driving increases in the number of women in prison, and how the mix of female prisoners serving short and long sentences is affecting population levels. Further study is needed to determine to what extent variations in incarceration rates are driven by differences in criminal behavior, and to what extent they are driven by differences in law enforcement, sentencing, correctional practice. Despite efforts by a handful of excellent researchers, the unique issues facing women in the criminal justice system remain poorly understood, in part because they comprise a small—if growing—share of the nation’s prison population. A better understanding of this population is critical for several reasons. First, while the impact of incarcerating women is not necessarily greater than the impact of incarcerating men, it is certainly different. Women prisoners were more likely to have been primary caretakers of children prior to incarceration, and their absence can place unique strains on families. Women also respond differently to incarceration. It is often observed that correctional facilities fail to provide prisoners with the tools needed to succeed on the outside. This may be especially true for women with a history of trauma or past abuse. Second, existing research also suggests that women’s pathways to prison may differ from those of men. As a consequence, strategies for improving criminal justice outcomes and reducing use of imprisonment are unlikely to succeed if these differences are not addressed. Third, examination of trends in the incarceration of women can shed light on the larger issue of steadily rising incarceration rates. Analysis of recent prison population trends presented in this brief suggests that female prison populations are particularly sensitive to the factors that drive overall levels of imprisonment. Not only could further research help generate strategies that produce better outcomes for women, but some of the same strategies could be deployed to improve outcomes for men. But more research on these issues is just the starting point. Action is needed to address the multitude of policies and practices that ensnare women in systems that cannot recognize and accommodate their needs as individuals and as parents. More and more incarceration should not be our response to the ways in which poverty, trauma, and addiction surface in women. Women should be supported—at the individual, family, and community level—in their efforts to create self-sufficient, successful lives for themselves and their families. Notes and Data Sources  Harrison, Paige M. and Allen J. Beck. Prisoners in 2004. (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, October 2005)  All prison population and imprisonment rates which are not separately footnoted come from data files compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and available on the BJS website (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/). For purposes of this analysis, only prisoners serving sentences of more than a year are included in order to facilitate state comparisons. As a result, prison population figures reported here may differ slightly from figures reported elsewhere.  In general, national and regional trends in state prison population growth rates and imprisonment rates are reported here in terms of median rates rather than the overall rate for the group in question. The purpose of reporting median rates (and proportions where the female share of the prison population is at issue) is to give equal weight to developments in all 50 states rather than presenting results that primarily reflect trends in the most populous states. For example, a chart of overall growth rates for the female prison population of the Pacific states would be virtually identical to a chart of California growth rates, since the state accounts for 82 percent of the region’s female prison population. Where rates and proportions are based on total regional populations rather than the median for states in the region, they are described as “overall” or “total” rates and proportions in order to avoid confusion.  Snell, Tracy. L. and Danielle C. Morton. Women in Prison. Washington DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics. 1994  BJS reports group states in four geographic regions defined by the U.S. Census— Northeast, Midwest, South and West. The same regional breakdown is employed in this brief, with the exception of the West, which has been divided into its two components—Pacific and Mountain states. The purpose of distinguishing Mountain and Pacific states (both geographic divisions established by the Census Bureau) is to more closely examine sharply differing trends in the regions’ use of imprisonment for women.  The Northeast region is comprised of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.  The Pacific states include Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington.  The Southern region encompasses Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. In this section, however, the median annual growth rates and net growth in Southern female prison populations are presented without data from Texas because anomalies in the state’s prisoner count would distort the regional picture. BJS statistics show that Texas’ female prison population grew by 188 percent a single year (1993), which represents close to half of all growth in the state’s female prison population over a 25-year period. Rather than a tripling of the state’s female prison population in the course of a single year, it is likely that the apparent jump is a result of years of undercounting—possibly of state prisoners housed in local jails due to a shortage of state prison beds.  In some cases, proportional growth in female prison populations is exaggerated by the fact that states started with just a handful of prisoners. For example, the three states with the highest growth rates—Montana, North Dakota and New Hampshire—each began the 27-year period with just two female prisoners. As a result, each new prisoner added 50 percent to the state’s proportional rate of population growth. In New Hampshire, where female imprisonment rates remain among the nation’s lowest, the proportional growth rate appears to be largely anomalous. On the other hand, Montana’s growth pushed the state from the bottom to one of the top female imprisonment rates, which suggests that the state’s 23,000 percent growth rate—while somewhat exaggerated—points to a very real and drastic growth trend.  The most striking exception to this trend is Ohio, where a 5.4 percent drop in the men’s prison population has been partially offset by 12-percent growth in the women’s population.  Adler, Frieda. Sisters in Crime (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1975)  Steffensmeier, Darrell J. “Sex differences in patterns of adult crime, 19651977: A review and Assessment.” Social Forces, Vol. 58, No. 4 (1980)  Baskin, Deborah, Ira Sommers and Jeffrey Fagan. “The political economy of female violent street crime.” Fordham Urban Law Journal. Vol. 20 (1993)  Chesney-Lind, Meda. “Criminalizing victimization: the unintended consequences of pro-arrest policies for girls and women.” Criminology and Public Policy, Vol. 2, No. 1 (November, 2002)  Raeder, Myrna S. “The forgotten offenders: the effect of sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimums on women and their children.” Federal Sentencing Reporter. Vol. 8, No. 3 (December, 1995)  Browne, Angela, Brenda Miller and Eugene Maguin. “Prevalence and Severity of Lifetime Physical and Sexual Victimization Amond Incarcerated Women.” International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. Vol. 22, Nos. 3-4 (1999)  Richie, Beth. Compelled to Crime: the gender entrapment of battered black women. (London: Routledge, 1996)  Chesney-Lind, Meda. The Female Offender: Girls, Women and Crime. 2nd edition. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 2004)  Lapidus, Lenora, Namita Luthra & Anjuli Verma; Deborah Small; Patricia Allard & Kirsten Levingston. “Caught in the Net: the Impact of Drug Policies on Women and Families.” Online at http:// http://www.fairlaws4families.org/final-caught-inthe-net-report.pdf.  Bureau of Justice Statistics. Profile of state prison inmates -- 1986. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice. 1988; Harrison, Prisoners in 2004  Mauer, Marc and Tracy Huling. Young Black Americans and the Criminal Justice System: Five Years Later. (Washington, DC: The Sentencing Project. 1995)  Bloom, Barbara, Barbara Owen and Stephanie Covington. Gender-Responsive Strategies: Research, Practice and Guiding Principles for Women Offenders. (Washington, DC: National Institute of Corrections, June 2003)  Sokoloff, Natalie. “Women Prisoners at the Dawn of the 20th Century.” Women in Criminal Justice. Vol. 16, No. 1/2 (2005)  Mauer, Marc, Cathy Potler and Richard Wolf. Gender and Justice: Women, Drugs, and Sentencing Policy. (Washington DC: The Sentencing Project. November, 1999)  Lapidus et. al. “Caught in the Net: the Impact of Drug Policies on Women and Families.”  Ibid.  Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crime in the United States—2004. (Washington, DC: Department of Justice)  NVCS data are not yet available for 2004.  Belknap, Joanne. “Access to programs and healthcare for incarcerated women.” Federal Probation. Vol 60, Issue 4 (December 1996)  Jacobs, Ann. “Give ‘em a Fighting Chance: The Challenges for Women Offenders Trying to Succeed in the Community". Topics in Community Corrections. (Washington DC: National Institute of Corrections 2000)  Chesney-Lind, The Female Offender: Girls, Women and Crime.  Women’s Prison Association. Breaking the Cycle of Despair: Children of incarcerated mothers (New York: WPA 1995)  Ibid.  Rose, Dina R, Todd Clear and Judith A. Ryder, Drugs, Incarcerations and Neighborhood Life: The Impact of Reintegrating Offenders in the Community. (Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice 2000)  Sokoloff, Natalie. “The Impact of the Prison Industrial Complex on African American Women.” Souls Vol. 5, no. 2 (Spring 2003)  Samuels, Paul and Debbie Mukamal. After Prison: Roadblocks to Reentry. (New York: Legal Action Center 2004)  Greene, Judith A. Positive Trends in State-Level Sentencing and Corrections Policy. Available online at http://www.justicestrategies.net/Publications.htm (Updates from the author)  Lyons, Donna. State Crime Legislation in 2004. (Denver, CO: National Conference of State Legislatures.)  Martin, Mark. “Changing population behind bars: Major drop in women in state prisons. San Francisco Chronicle, April 21, 2001  Ziedenberg, Jason and Scott Ahlers. Prop. 36: Five years later. (Washington DC: Justice Policy Institute. April 2006)  Prisoners serving a mandatory sentence under the Rockefeller Drug Laws can receive a “merit time” reduction of their sentence in the amount of one-third of the minimum imposed by the court, provided they have a good behavior record and participate in work or treatment programs to prepare themselves for release.  New York’s “earned eligibility” program allows certain prisoners that complete work and/or treatment program assignments to earn a “certificate” that sets a presumption that they will be released at their first parole hearing unless the parole board decides otherwise.  These data were obtained from the online “Criminal Justice Data Sheet” of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.  Women’s Advocacy Project, Making Family Reunification a Reality for Criminal Justice Involved Women, available online at: http://www.wpaonline.org/pdf/Recommendations_2005.pdf  Allard, Patricia. Life Sentences: Denying welfare Benefits To Women Convicted Of Drug Offenses. (Washington, DC: The Sentencing Project. February 2002) States may choose to “opt out” of these restrictions but many have not done so.  Jacobs, "Give 'em a fighting chance".  Jacobs, Ann. Improving the Odds: Women in Community Corrections. Online at http://www.wpaonline.org/pdf/Improving_the_Odds.pdf  Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. Changing Public Attitudes toward the Criminal Justice System. (February 2002) Part II: State by State Analysis by Dr. Natasha A. Frost, Northeastern University National Overview U.S. IMPRISONMENT AT A GLANCE Imprisonment Rate 1977: 129 Female Imprisonment Rate 1977: Imprisonment Rate 2004: 486 Female Imprisonment Rate 2004: 10 64 Total Female Sentenced Prisoners 1977: 11,212 Total Female Sentenced Prisoners 2004: 96,125 Percent Increase 1977-2004: 757 % Average Annual Percent Increase 1977-2004: 8 % Percent Increase 1999-2004: 17 % IMPRISONMENT IN THE UNITED STATES At year-end 2004, United States state and federal prisons housed 1,433,793 inmates serving sentences of more than one year. Of these inmates, 1,337,668 were male and 96,125 were female. In 1977, United States prisons housed 11,212 female inmates: by 2004, the female prison population had increased almost nine-fold, reaching 96,125. The number of female inmates grew every year except for 2001 when the number of female inmates dropped slightly before resuming its upward trend. Between 1977 and 2004, the female imprisonment rate in the United States grew by 757% (with an average annual change of 8% per year). UNITOD suns ~t<I'_"""""" 1911· ;roo.o ..", i, • j - soooo :~ ·•••• ; 11111111111 ~~~~ ~~~~ ~ •. ; ; ~ ,~ ; ~ ; ~~~~~ ;~i ~ ~ i Female Imprisonment Rates Between 1977 and 2004, the United States female imprisonment rate (including the federal prison system and the prison populations of all fifty states) grew from 10 to 64 female prisoners per 100,000 female residents. UN~OS""TU ..-... •m...........-.... Roo........ • 00._ • 977·2_ ~.m.' .....'d..... CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES The source for all correctional facility data in this report is the 2000 Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities (Stephan and Karberg, 2003). According to the 2000 Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities, the United States has 1,668 state and federal correctional facilities. Of the 1,668 correctional facilities, 1,287 house male prisoners only, 156 house female prisoners only, and 225 house both male and female prisoners. MALE TO FEMALE IMPRISONMENT RATIO The male to female imprisonment ratio indicates the number of male inmates for every female inmate. Although both female and male imprisonment rates have increased over the period of study, a shrinking ratio suggests that the number of female prisoners has increased at a faster pace than the number of male prisoners. In 1977, the United States imprisoned 24 male prisoners for every female prisoner – by 2004, this ratio had fallen to 14 male prisoners for every female prisoner (including all 50 states and the federal system). STATE-LEVEL VARIATION As is always the case, viewing the United States as a whole masks substantial statelevel variations in imprisonment practices. Some states are significantly more punitive in female imprisonment rates than others. Although imprisonment rates have grown in all states between 1977 and 2004, that growth has taken different shapes, with some experiencing rapid growth and others demonstrating a surprising stability (particularly relative to other states) long after the beginning of unprecedented growth in the use of imprisonment across the country as a whole. TEN MOST PUNITIVE STATES FEMALE IMPRISONMENT RATES 2004 STATE RATE RANK Oklahoma 129 1 Mississippi 107 2 Louisiana 103 3 Montana 102 4 Texas 101 5 Idaho 93 6 Arizona 89 7 Missouri 85 8 Wyoming 84 9 Colorado 83 10 TEN LEAST PUNITIVE STATES FEMALE IMPRISONMENT RATES 2004 STATE RATE RANK Rhode Island 11 50 Massachusetts 11 49 Maine 18 48 New Hampshire 18 47 Minnesota 21 46 Vermont 25 45 New York 28 44 Pennsylvania 28 43 New Jersey 33 42 Maryland 39 41 Map: State Rates 2004 The color-coded map that follows visually depicts state-level variations in female imprisonment rates. Roll over each state to view statistics. Click on any state for state-specific female imprisonment data. Imprisonment of Women in the United States 20001 Rile 01 Fomo" 1"",,,~mo/1l po'l00,OOO Fomalo Rosldonts " FEDERAL GROWTH IN FEMALE IMPRISONMENT 1977-2004 Sentenced Female Prisoners At yearend 1977, U.S. prisons housed a total of 11,212 sentenced female prisoners. At that time, only the federal prison system housed over 1,000 women. Fully half of the states (25) had female prison populations of less than 100 and four states housed less than 10 prisoners (Montana, North Dakota, New Hampshire and Vermont). Although no state had a prison population of over 1,000 women in 1977, by yearend 2004, twenty-seven states housed more than 1,000 female prisoners. Only two states (Rhode Island and Vermont) maintained female prison populations of under 100 women at yearend 2004 (recall that in 1977 half of the states housed less than 100 female prisoners). Moreover, two of the states that had female prison populations of under 100 in 1977 had far exceeded the 1,000 female prisoner mark by 2004. Colorado which housed only 72 female prisoners in 1977, had 1,900 female prisoners in 2004. Mississippi’s 57 female prisoners in 1977 grew to 1,602 in 2004. Table 1 presents the actual female prison populations in each state in 2004 and in 1977. The states are sorted based on the total female prisoners in 2004 (from highest to lowest). TABLE 1. TOTAL FEMALE PRISONERS BY STATE, 2004 and 1977 Female Prisoners 2004 TOTAL Female Prisoners 1977 96,125 11,212 Texas 11,408 919 California 10,882 671 Federal 10,207 1,694 Florida 5,660 870 Georgia 3,433 493 Ohio 3,185 577 New York 2,789 512 Illinois 2,750 277 Virginia 2,706 251 Arizona 2,545 187 Missouri 2,503 158 Louisiana 2,386 217 Oklahoma 2,300 172 Michigan 2,113 538 Tennessee 1,905 232 Colorado 1,900 72 Indiana 1,881 130 Pennsylvania 1,820 211 North Carolina 1,758 460 Alabama 1,661 223 Mississippi 1,602 57 New Jersey 1,470 180 Kentucky 1,447 138 South Carolina 1,428 276 Wisconsin 1,310 136 Washington 1,303 226 Maryland 1,124 248 Oregon 981 112 Arkansas 910 91 Nevada 878 65 Connecticut 788 71 Iowa 757 84 Idaho 647 28 Kansas 620 89 New Mexico 546 53 Minnesota 544 75 Utah 502 30 Montana 473 2 West Virginia 444 44 Hawaii 438 14 Massachusetts 376 78 Nebraska 348 73 South Dakota 290 18 Delaware 215 41 Wyoming 210 16 Alaska 174 21 North Dakota 129 2 Maine 120 14 New Hampshire 119 2 Vermont 80 9 Rhode Island 60 13 Female Imprisonment Rates In 1977, the median imprisonment rate across the states was 7 female prisoners for every 100,000 female residents. At that time, no state had a female imprisonment rate of over 20 sentenced female prisoners per 100,000 females in the population. By 2004, the median imprisonment rate of 55 female prisoners for every 100,000 female residents was more than five times higher than it had been in 1977. Five states had female imprisonment rates of over 100 female prisoners per 100,000 (Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana, Montana, and Texas), and only four states maintained female imprisonment rates of under 20 per 100,000 (Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island). TABLE 2. FEMALE IMPRISONMENT RATES BY STATE, 2004 and 1977 Female Imprisonment Rate 2004 Female Imprisonment Rate 1977 Oklahoma 129 12 Mississippi 107 4 Louisiana 103 11 Montana 102 1 Texas 101 14 Idaho 93 6 Arizona 89 15 Missouri 85 6 Wyoming 84 8 Colorado 83 5 Georgia 77 18 Nevada 77 19 South Dakota 75 5 Alabama 71 11 Virginia 71 9 Hawaii 69 3 Kentucky 69 8 South Carolina 66 18 Arkansas 65 8 Florida 64 19 Tennessee 63 10 California 61 6 Indiana 59 5 New Mexico 56 9 Alaska 55 11 Ohio 54 10 Oregon 54 9 Delaware 51 13 Iowa 50 6 West Virginia 48 4 Wisconsin 47 6 Kansas 45 8 Connecticut 44 4 Illinois 43 5 Utah 42 5 Washington 42 12 Michigan 41 11 North Dakota 41 1 North Carolina 40 16 Maryland 39 11 Nebraska 39 9 New Jersey 33 5 New York 28 5 Pennsylvania 28 3 Vermont 25 4 Minnesota 21 4 Maine 18 2 New Hampshire 18 0 Massachusetts 11 3 Rhode Island 11 3 FEMALE PRISONERS 1999-2004 Over the five year period between 1999-2004, the number of sentenced female prisoners in the United States increased from 82,402 (in 1999) to 96,125 (in 2004) – a growth of 17% in just five years. Nine states experienced decreases in the female prison population with New York and New Jersey experiencing the largest declines in female prisoners over the period (New York’s female prison population fell from 3,620 female prisoners in 1999 to 2,789 in 2004, a decrease of 23% and New Jersey’s female prison population fell from 1,862 female prisoners in 1999 to 1,470 in 2004 – a decrease of 21%). The remaining 41 states and the federal prison system saw increases in their female prison populations. The tables below list the ten states with the largest increase in actual female prisoners and the ten states with the largest % change in the female prison population between yearend 1999 and yearend 2004. The prison population data are yearend data, so the growth actually represents growth from the end of 1999 through the end of 2004. LARGEST INCREASES IN FEMALE PRISONERS AND LARGEST GROWTH (% CHANGE), 1999-2004 Increase in Number of Female Prisoners, 1999-2004 % Change 1999-2004 Federal 2,151 Maine 114% Florida 1,840 North Dakota 102% Texas 1,093 Vermont 95% Arizona 975 West Virginia 86% Georgia 836 New Mexico 81% Virginia 803 Montana 80% Colorado 687 Oregon 68% Indiana 662 Idaho 62% Missouri 616 Arizona 62% Tennessee 537 Colorado 57% SMALLEST INCREASES IN FEMALE PRISONERS AND SMALLEST GROWTH (% CHANGE), 1999-2004 Increase in Number of Female Prisoners, 1999-2004 % Change 1999-2004 New Hampshire 2 California 1% Rhode Island 3 New Hampshire 2% Alabama 3% Vermont 39 Alaska 41 Michigan 4% Kansas 50 Rhode Island 5% Alabama 53 Louisiana 5% California Maine 56 64 Kansas 9% South Carolina 9% North Dakota 65 Texas 11% Wyoming 71 Ohio 12% DECREASES IN FEMALE PRISONERS AND NEGATIVE GROWTH (% CHANGE), 1999-2004 Decrease in Number of Female Prisoners, 1999-2004 % Change 1999-2004 New York -831 New York -23% New Jersey -392 New Jersey -21% Wisconsin -55 Massachusetts -9% Illinois -52 Hawaii -8% Massachusetts -38 Wisconsin -4% Hawaii -36 Connecticut -3% Connecticut -25 Illinois -2% Oklahoma -16 Oklahoma -1% Delaware 0%* Delaware -1 *Though DE experienced a 1-person decrease from 1999-2004, this constitutes less than a 1% change. State Reports The hyperlinks below will take you to each state's imprisonment analysis. Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming District of Columbia Federal NOTES Unless otherwise noted, all averages across the states are medians. Averages across states include only state data (e.g. these averages exclude the federal prison system and Washington D.C.'s prisoners (where applicable)). The United States average includes all prisoners (regardless of their classification as a state or federal prisoner). Federal refers distinctly to prisoners housed in the federal prison system. Only prison data for inmates sentenced to more than one year were included. The exclusion of data covering those not sentenced (or those sentenced to less than one year) allows for the inclusion of the six states that have mixed prison and jail populations. The six states with mixed prison/jail populations include: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Rates were calculated per 100,000 population. Gender specific rates used gender specific population data. Although states appear to have identical imprisonment rates, their rates are actually slightly different (rates were rounded to the nearest whole number for ease of presentation). States were ranked based on the actual values. All imprisonment data were drawn from Bureau of Justice Statistics datasets and spreadsheets that rely on National Prisoner Statistics (NPS) and National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP) data. For a description of the NPS and NCRP methodologies and state by state explanatory notes see: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/p03.pdf The primary dataset used in compiling this report was: Doris James and Paige Harrison (2005). Sentenced female prisoners under State or Federal jurisdiction. National Prisoner Statistics Data Series (NPS1). (File: corpop37; date of version: 12/06/2005). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Other imprisonment data were derived from additional BJS reports cited below. Some of the gender specific data for 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 were compiled for the author by Paige M. Harrison of the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The author would like to thank Paige Harrison for providing the gender specific data tables. Imprisonment data are yearend data (e.g. the female prison population in 2004 represents the female prison population on the very last day of 2004). Growth in female imprisonment from 1999 through 2004 therefore actually represents growth from 12/31/1999 through 12/31/2004 (e.g. over the first five years of the 21st century). DATA SOURCES Correctional Facilities James J. Stephan and Jennifer C. Karberg (2003). Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 2000. (NCJ 198272) U.S. Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice Statistics. Full report available online: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/csfcf00.pdf 1977-2004 Imprisonment Data Doris James and Paige Harrison (2005). Sentenced female prisoners under State or Federal jurisdiction. National Prisoner Statistics Data Series (NPS1). (File: corpop37; date of version: 12/06/2005). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. 1999-2002 Imprisonment Data The gender specific data for 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 were compiled for the author by Paige M. Harrison of the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Paige M. Harrison and Allen J. Beck (2004). Prisoners in 2003. (NCJ 205335) U.S. Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice Statistics. Full report available online: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/p03.pdf Paige M. Harrison and Allen J. Beck (2003). Prisoners in 2002. (NCJ 200248) U.S. Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice Statistics. Full report available online: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/p02.pdf Paige M. Harrison and Allen J. Beck (2002). Prisoners in 2001. (NCJ 195189) U.S. Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice Statistics. Full report available online: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/p01.pdf Allen J. Beck and Paige M. Harrison (2001). Prisoners in 2000. (NCJ 188207) U.S. Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice Statistics. Full report available online: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/p00.pdf Allen J. Beck (2000). Prisoners in 1999. (NCJ 183476) U.S. Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice Statistics. Full report available online: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/p99.pdf 1977-1998 Imprisonment Data Paige Harrison (2000). Sentenced female prisoners under State or Federal jurisdiction. National Prisoner Statistics Data Series (NPS1). (File: corpop37; date of version, 06/28/00). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Paige Harrison (2000). Sentenced male prisoners under State or Federal jurisdiction. National Prisoner Statistics Data Series (NPS1) – (File: corpop36; date of version, 06/28/00). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. George Hill and Paige Harrison (2000) Sentenced prisoners under State or Federal jurisdiction. National Prisoner Statistics Data Series (NPS1) – (File: corpop01; date of version, 10/26/00). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Population Estimates 1977-1999 U.S. Census Bureau (March 2003). United States Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division; Census Data for Public Health Research, CDC WONDER On-line Database, March 2003. 2000-2004 U.S. Census Bureau (2005) Table 2: Annual Estimates of the Population by Sex and Age. April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2004 (SC-EST2004-02-54). Source: Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau. (Release Date: March 2005). Acknowledgements The Institute on Women & Criminal Justice wishes to thank some of the individuals who helped to make this report possible. They include: Dr. Dina Rose, who was the Director of Research at WPA at the time at which this report was conceived, and who made major contributions to its initial design Dawn Wiest and Venezia Michalsen, for their early work in data collection and shaping of the report; Nickie D. Phillips, for her work with Dr. Frost to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the data used in Part II of the report; Jason Ziedenberg, Executive Director, and Laura Jones, Director of Public Affairs and Special Projects of the Justice Policy Institute, for the guidance they offered over the course of producing and releasing this report; Natalia Kennedy for her assistance in the communications plan for the report; Keita de Souza and Mickey Lambert for their careful stewardship of the production of HARD HIT; and The JEHT Foundation and the Open Society Institute for their generous support of the Institute on Women & Criminal Justice. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the Institute on Women & Criminal Justice and the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the JEHT Foundation or the Open Society Institute. HARD HIT: The Growth in the Imprisonment of Women, 1977 - 2004 designed by Lynn Riley and Kenneth Wajda of Lynn Riley Design, Inc. About the Authors Natasha A. Frost is an Assistant Professor in the College of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University. She received a B.S. in psychology from Northeastern University (1997) and a Ph.D. in criminal justice from the City University of New York (2004). Dr. Frost's primary research interests are in the area of punishment and social control. She is Associate Editor of Criminology & Public Policy, a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Society of Criminology. Judith Greene is a criminal justice policy analyst and principal of Justice Strategies, a non-profit organization committed to providing high-quality research to advocates and policymakers in the fields of criminal justice and immigrant detention. A past Soros Senior Justice Fellow, she served as a research associate for the RAND Corporation, as a senior research fellow at the University of Minnesota Law School, and as director of the State-Centered Program for the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. From 1985 to 1993 she was Director of Court Programs at the Vera Institute. Kevin Pranis is a criminal justice policy analyst, a principal of Justice Strategies, and a campaign strategist. A past Soros Justice Fellow, Mr. Pranis has produced educational materials, training manuals, reports, and white papers on topics that include corporate accountability, municipal bond finance, political education, prison privatization and sentencing policy. His work has been covered in numerous publications, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.