USA: Female Mass Incarceration

Jul 29, 2023 | Aviation, Environmental, People, Videos

The mass incarceration of women in the United States has been an ongoing reality for more than four decades. In the early 1980s, roughly 25,000 women were behind bars in the US. Today, that number has ballooned to over 230,000 with Oklahoma being among the most egregious offenders.

This shocking trend has been documented extensively in various films and documentaries, most notably the 2017 documentary “Women Behind Bars”. The film follows a group of incarcerated women and their families as they struggle to make sense of their lives while facing harsh prison sentences for nonviolent offenses. It is an heartbreaking yet powerful portrait of a criminal justice system that disproportionately targets and incarcerates women at alarming rates.

According to statistics from the Prison Policy Initiative, women are now the fastest-growing population within US prisons and jails. This is largely due to increasingly punitive policies such as mandatory minimums that can result in long prison terms for drug-related offenses or minor infractions like shoplifting food or clothing out of desperation or need.

The consequences of female incarceration extend far beyond prison walls as well, with children and families often finding themselves without proper support or resources when a mother is sentenced to serve time behind bars. The film serves as an important reminder that no one is too small or insignificant to be forgotten by a criminal justice system that often fails its most vulnerable citizens.

If you’re looking for an insight into this complex issue and want to learn how it affects individuals on a personal level, “Women Behind Bars” is definitely worth watching. By bearing witness to these stories we can better understand how devastatingly common female incarceration has become and work towards meaningful reform in our criminal justice system so these same tragic events are not repeated again in the future.

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David B