In the last 25 years, the number of women and girls caught in the US criminal justice system has skyrocketed; many have been swept up in the “war on drugs” and a tough-on-crime legislation. Women of color from lower socioeconomic backgrounds have been sepecially hard hit.

At the end of 2001, in the United States 93,031 women were incarcerated in federal and state prisons. In 2010, Over 200,000 women are behind bars. Hispanic women are incarcerated nearly twice the rate of white women, and black women are incarcerated at four times the rate of white women.

The number of women in US prison increased by 646% between 1980 and 2010, rising from 15,118 to 112,797.1, Including women in local jails, more than 205,000 women are now incarcerated. In that period, the number of women in prison increased at nearly 1.5 times the rate of men (646% versus 419%).

The imprisonment rate for females decreased by 2.9% from 2011 to 2012, from 65 female prisoners per 100,000 U.S. female residents to 63 per 100,000.

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