Ohio is creating a fourth prison for women as the population of female prisoners was predicted to grow by 28 percent over the next eight years, more than twice the rate of men, the state said. The state is transferring male inmates out of a minimum-security camp at Trumbull Correctional Institution in eastern Ohio and plans to move 300 women there by January, the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said Thursday. Officials say the state will have more than 3,600 women behind bars in 2012, up from about 2,800 at the end of last year, reports the Associated Press. The male population was predicted to grow about 13 percent over the same period.
Officials and advocates for prison reform debate the reasons for the growth, but they generally agree that a key factor is the shrinking number of options for staying out of prison when it comes to sentencing. “The courts are frustrated with the female offenders who continually commit felony offenses,” said Correction Department Director Reginald Wilkinson. Nationally, the Department of Justice says the number of women in state and federal prisons grew 5 percent from 2002 to 2003, compared with 2.7 percent for men.