A disturbing new trend is growing within the U.S. jail and prison system.
The Vera Institute of Justice and the Safety and Challenge Program have completed a joint study, which found that black and Hispanic women are the fastest growing population within the nation’s capricious correctional structure. The researchers of this study also found evidence to prove the following grim statistics:
- Black women make up 44 percent of the female jail/prison population nationwide
- Hispanic women make up 15 percent of the female jail/prison population nationwide
- The amount of female inmates in U.S. prisons and jails has increased more than tenfold since the 1970s.
- 80 percent of all female inmates in U.S. prisons and jails are the primary caregivers to at least one child or more.
What is even more troubling is that the majority of the women who are being imprisoned at alarming rates today are being punished for low-level crimes that are non-violent. America spends astronomical sums of tax money every year to incarcerate people for lengthy periods of time over charges like drug possession and misdemeanor probation violations.
“[Today’s women in jail are] overwhelmingly poor and low-income, survivors of violence and trauma, and have high rates of physical and mental illness and substance use,” wrote the authors of this study in their final summary.
This issue is so significant that Loretta Lynch, the U.S. Attorney General has even spoken out about it.
“We know that when we incarcerate a woman we often are truly incarcerating a family, in terms of the far-reaching effect on her children, her community, and her entire family network,” Lynch said in a statement.
The privatization of U.S. jails and prisons is one of the biggest drivers behind the growing amount of minority women in the penal system. People and entities are getting rich off the mass incarceration of the U.S. population. The public correctional system before modern times was based on rehabilitation, whereas now it’s about making a profit. The more people you have locked up, the more money is made.