Over the past quarter century, there has been a profound change in the involvement of women within the criminal justice system, according to The Sentencing Project. This is the result of more expansive law enforcement efforts, stiffer drug sentencing laws, and post-conviction barriers to reentry that uniquely affect women.
The female prison population stands nearly eight times higher than in 1980. More than 60 percent of women in state prisons have a child under the age of 18.
Between 1980 and 2016, the number of incarcerated women increased by more than 700 percent, rising from a total of 26,378 in 1980 to 213,722 in 2016.
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