The Center for American Progress notes some troubling facts about the incarceration of women. The Washington, D.C.-based progressive organization says the number of women incarcerated has increased by 800 percent over the past three decades, and minority women are locked up at disproportional rates. It says as many as nine out of 10 women under the control of the criminal justice system have a history of domestic or sexual abuse.
The center says many girls who enter the juvenile justice system are runaways with a history of abuse. It adds that women face barriers in effectively re-entering society and providing for themselves and their children after they are released from incarceration. Women of color, who are disproportionately poor, find themselves restricted from governmental assistance programs, such as housing, employment, education, and subsistence benefits. Many states even impose statutory bans on people with certain convictions working in certain industries such as nursing, child care, and home health care—three fields in which many poor women and women of color happen to be disproportionately concentrated.