CLOSE TO HOME: Women are hidden in state prison crisis (US)

BARBARA BLOOM – PressDemocrat.com (Petaluma, CA) – Wed 15 April, 2009

We are facing a correctional crisis in California that is unparalleled in other states. With prisons at or above 200 percent of capacity and federal court intervention imminent, a hidden aspect of corrections is the plight of incarcerated women.

Relative to men, the number of women in state prison may seem small. But, at more than 11,000, female prisoners are a growing and significant population, currently the largest in any state. Additionally, there are almost as many women locked up in county jails. The net result is more than 22,000 women in custody.

Not only are women prisoners hidden, their pathways to prison are often neglected and not addressed. Additionally, women have different reasons for being in prison than men, different histories of abuse and addiction, different family roles and relationships, different health concerns and different motivations to change. . .

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