Report: U.S. ‘Out of Step’ on Rates of Female Imprisonment


A report by the Prison Policy Initiative concludes that each American state is “out of step with the rest of the world” in their levels of incarceration of women. “Every single state incarcerates women at a rate that far exceeds international norms,” says Aleks Kajstura of the Massachusetts-based nonprofit. The report, “States of Women’s Incarceration: The Global Context,” says the U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s female population but accounts for nearly 30 percent of incarcerated women.

With the exception of Thailand and the U.S. itself, the top 44 jurisdictions throughout the world with the highest rates of incarcerating women are individual American states. Those with the highest rates are West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Alabama and Arizona. In Illinois, the incarceration rate for women is on par with El Salvador. New Hampshire is on the same level as Russia, and New York with Rwanda. The group called the statistics “staggering.”

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