Overlooked: Women and Jails in an Era of Reform

Publication date: 
September, 2016
Source(s): 
Vera Institute of Justice

Overlooked: Women and Jails in an Era of Reform

Since 1970, there has been a nearly five-fold increase in the number of people in U.S. jails—the approximately 3,000 county or municipality-run detention facilities that primarily hold people arrested but not yet convicted of a crime.

Despite recent scrutiny from policymakers and the public, one aspect of this growth has received little attention: the shocking rise in the number of women in jail.

Women in jail are the fastest growing correctional population in the country—increasing 14-fold between 1970 and 2014. Yet there is surprisingly little research on why so many more women wind up in jail today. 

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