Women & The Drug War
(Imprisonment Rates) "Males (932 per 100,000) were imprisoned at 14 times the rate of females (65 per 100,000) in 2011. Imprisonment rates for males (down 1.7%) and females (down 1.8%) showed similar rates of decline from 2010 to 2011."Source:Carson, E. Ann, and Sabol, William J., "Prisoners in 2011" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, Dec. 2012), NCJ239808, p. 7.
(Number of People in Jails in the US, 2015, by Gender) "The juvenile population (those age 17 or younger) in local jails continued to decline in 2015, to fewer than 4,000 inmates (tables 3 and 4). This was down from a peak of about 7,600 juveniles in 2010. Since 2000, at least 8 in 10 juveniles held in local jails were on trial or awaiting trial in adult court.
"While males accounted for at least 85% of the jail population each year since 2000, the female jail population grew from 11% of the total jail population in 2000 to more than 14% in 2013 and 2014. As a result, the female jail incarceration rate increased from about 50 per 100,000 female U.S. residents in 2000 to nearly 70 per 100,000 in 2014. The male incarceration rate remained relatively stable since 2000 (about 400 per 100,000 male U.S. residents) (not shown)."Source:Todd D. Minton and Zhen Zeng, PhD, "Jail Inmates in 2015," Bureau of Justice Statistics (Washington, DC: Department of Justice, Dec. 2016), NCJ250394, p. 4.
"Black females were imprisoned at between 2 and 3 times the rate of white females, while Hispanic females were imprisoned at between 1 and 3 times the rate of white females."
Female Sentenced Prison Inmates
Under State or Federal Jurisdiction: 2000, 2010, and 2011
Number and Imprisonment Rates, by Race
Year Total Non-Hispanic White Non-Hispanic Black Hispanic 2000 Number 83,700 34,500 37,400 10,000 Rate per 100,000 Pop. 59 34 205 60 2010 Number 104,600 48,000 26,600 18,700 Rate per 100,000 Pop. 67 47 133 77 2011 Number 103,674 51,100 26,000 18,400 Rate per 100,000 Pop. 65 51 129 71
Note: The Bureau of Justice Statistics defines Imprisonment Rate as "the number of prisoners under state or federal jurisdiction sentenced to more than 1 year per 100,000 U.S. residents."Source:Carson, E. Ann, and Sabol, William J., "Prisoners in 2011" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, Dec. 2012), NCJ239808, p. 8; Table 7, p. 7; and Table 8, p. 8.
Guerino, Paul; Harrison, Paige M.; and Sabol, William J., "Prisoners in 2010," Bureau of Justice Statistics, (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, December 2011), NCJ 236096, Table 12, p. 26; Table 14, p. 27; and p. 12.
In 2011, there were a reported 2,471,370 arrests of women, of which 232,758 (9.42%) were for drug offenses. (Note: Data are from 12,023 reporting agencies representing an estimated population of 238,952,977, not a nationwide estimate.)Source:"Crime in the United States 2011 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, October 2012), Table 40.
Sentenced Prisoners Under State Jurisdiction Whose Most Serious Offense Was A Drug Charge, By Gender Year Total Male Female 2006 264,300 238,600 26,200 2007 273,600 247,000 26,600 2008 251,400 225,900 25,500 2009 242,900 218,800 24,000 2010 237,000 215,600 23,400 % Change 2006-2009 -8.1% -8.3% -8.4%Source:Carson, E. Ann, and Sabol, William J., "Prisoners in 2011" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, Dec. 2012), NCJ239808, p. 9, Table 9.
Guerino, Paul; Harrison, Paige M.; and Sabol, William J., "Prisoners in 2010," Bureau of Justice Statistics, (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, December 2011), NCJ 236096, Appendix Table 16B, p. 28.
West, Heather C.; Sabol, William J.; and Greenman, Sarah J., "Prisoners in 2009," Bureau of Justice Statistics, (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, December 2010), NCJ 231675, Appendix Table 16a, Appendix Table 16b, Appendix Table 16c, pp. 29-30.
The most serious offense for 59.4% of women in federal prisons and 25.1% of women in state prisons is violation of drug laws.Source:Federal Prison Data: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Federal Justice Statistics Resource Center, Federal Criminal Case Processing Statistics Online Analysis Tool at http://www.bjs.gov/fjsrc/index.cfm last accessed May 24, 2013.
State Prison Data: Carson, E. Ann, and Sabol, William J., "Prisoners in 2011" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, Dec. 2012), NCJ239808, Table 9, p. 9.
(Current Alcohol Use by Gender) "In 2011, an estimated 56.8 percent of males aged 12 or older were current drinkers, which was higher than the rate for females (47.1 percent). However, among youths aged 12 to 17, the percentage of males who were current drinkers (13.3 percent) was similar to the rate for females (13.3 percent)."Source:Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-44, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4713. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012, p. 33.
(Current Drug Use by Gender) "In 2011, as in prior years, the rate of current illicit drug use among persons aged 12 or older was higher for males (11.1 percent) than for females (6.5 percent). Males were more likely than females to be current users of several different illicit drugs, including marijuana (9.3 vs. 4.9 percent), nonmedical use of prescription drugs (2.6 vs. 2.2 percent), cocaine (0.7 vs. 0.4 percent), and hallucinogens (0.5 vs. 0.3 percent). The 2011 rates for both males and females aged 12 or older were similar to those reported in 2010, with the exception of a decrease in the current nonmedical use of prescription drugs among females (down from 2.5 percent in 2010)."Source:Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-44, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4713. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012, p. 21.
(Substance Dependence or Abuse by Gender) "As was the case from 2002 through 2010, the rate of substance dependence or abuse for males aged 12 or older in 2011 was about twice as high as the rate for females. For males in 2011, the rate was 10.4 percent, which decreased from 11.7 percent in 2010 (Figure 7.6). For females, it was 5.7 percent in 2011, which did not differ from the rate of 6.0 percent in 2010. Among youths aged 12 to 17, the rate of substance dependence or abuse among males was not different from the rate among females in 2011 (6.9 percent for each)."Source:Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-44, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4713. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012, p. 78.
(Mothers in Prison by Race/Ethnicity) "Almost half (48%) of all mothers held in the nation’s prisons at midyear 2007 were white, 28% were black, and 17% were Hispanic. Of the estimated 147,400 children with a mother in prison, about 45% had a white mother. A smaller percentage of the children had a black (30%) or Hispanic (19%) mother."Source:Glaze, Lauren E., and Maruschak, Laura M., "Parents in Prison and Their Minor Children" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, Aug. 2008), NCJ222984, p. 2.
(Growth in Incarceration Rates, 1995-2005) "Since 1995 the total number of male prisoners has grown 34%; the number of female prisoners, 57%. At yearend 2005, 1 in every 1,538 women and 1 in every 108 men were incarcerated in a State or Federal prison."
(Children with Parents in Prison) "Since 1991, the number of children with a mother in prison has more than doubled, up 131%. The number of children with a father in prison has grown by 77%. This finding reflects a faster rate of growth in the number of mothers held in state and federal prisons (up 122%), compared to the number of fathers (up 76%) between 1991 and midyear 2007.
"Of the estimated 74 million children in the U.S. resident population who were under age 18 on July 1, 2007, 2.3% had a parent in prison (table 2). Black children (6.7%) were seven and a half times more likely than white children (0.9%) to have a parent in prison. Hispanic children (2.4%) were more than two and a half times more likely than white children to have a parent in prison."Source:Glaze, Lauren E., and Maruschak, Laura M., "Parents in Prison and Their Minor Children" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, Aug. 2008), NCJ222984, p. 2.
(Mothers in Prison) "The nation’s prisons held approximately 744,200 fathers and 65,600 mothers at midyear 2007 (appendix table 1). Fathers in prison reported having 1,559,200 children; mothers reported 147,400."Source:Glaze, Lauren E., and Maruschak, Laura M., "Parents in Prison and Their Minor Children" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, Aug. 2008), NCJ222984, p. 2.
(Rates of Inmate-on-Inmate Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails)
" Rates of inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization among prison inmates were higher among females (6.9%) than males (1.7%), higher among whites (2.9%) or inmates of two or more races (4.0%) than among blacks (1.3%), higher among inmates with a college degree (2.7%) than among inmates who had not completed high school (1.9%), and lower among currently married inmates (1.4%) than among inmates who never married (2.1%) (table 7).
" Similar patterns of inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization were reported by jail inmates. Female jail inmates (3.6%), whites (2.0%), and inmates with a college degree (3.0%) reported higher rates of victimization than males (1.4%), blacks (1.1%), and inmates who had not completed high school (1.4%).
" Rates of inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization were unrelated to age among state and federal prisoners, except for slightly lower rates among inmates age 55 or older.
" Rates were lower among jail inmates in the oldest age categories (ages 35 to 44, 45 to 54, and 55 or older) than among jail inmates ages 20 to 24."Source:Beck, Allen J., PhD, Berzofsky, Marcus, DrPH, and Krebs, Christopher, PhD, "Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2011-2012" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, May 2013), NCJ241399, pp. 17-18.
(Patterns of Prison and Jail Staff Sexual Misconduct) "The reported use or threat of physical force to engage in sexual activity with staff was generally low among all prison and jail inmates (0.8%); however, at least 5% of the inmates in three state prisons and one high-rate jail facility reported they had been physically forced or threatened with force. (See appendix tables 3 and 7.) The Clements Unit (Texas) had the highest percentage of inmates reporting sexual victimization involving physical force or threat of force by staff (8.1%), followed by Denver Women’s Correctional Facility (Colorado) (7.3%), and Idaho Maximum Security Institution (6.0%). Wilson County Jail (Kansas) led all surveyed jails, with 5.6% of inmates reporting that staff used physical force or threat of force to have sex or sexual contact.
"While 0.8% of prison and jail inmates reported the use or threat of physical force, an estimated 1.4% of prison inmates and 1.2% of jail inmates reported being coerced by facility staff without any use or threat of force, including being pressured or made to feel they had to have sex or sexual contact. In 8 of the 24 facilities with high rates of staff sexual misconduct, at least 5% of the inmates reported such pressure by staff. Among state prisoners, the highest rates were reported by female inmates in the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility (Colorado) (8.8%) and by male inmates in the Clements Unit (Texas) (8.7%). Among jail inmates, the highest rates were reported by inmates in the Rose M. Singer Center (New York) (5.6%) and the Contra Costa County Martinez Detention Facility (California) (5.2%)."Source:Beck, Allen J., PhD, Berzofsky, Marcus, DrPH, and Krebs, Christopher, PhD, "Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2011-2012" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, May 2013), NCJ241399, p. 14.
(Female Incarceration Rates in the US in 2010 by Race/Ethnicity) According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, at midyear 2010, the incarceration rate for females was 126 per 100,000 population. The rate for non-Hispanic white females was 91, for non-Hispanic black females the rate was 260, and for Hispanic women the rate was 133.Source:Glaze, Lauren E., "Correctional Population in the United States, 2010," Bureau of Justice Statistics (Washington, DC: Department of Justice, December 2011), NCJ 236319, Appendix Table 3, p. 8.
(International Standards and US Law Relating to Sexual Abuse in Prisons) "Under international law, rape of an inmate by staff is considered to be torture. Other forms of sexual abuse violate the internationally recognized prohibition on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Rape and sexual assault violate US federal and state criminal laws. In addition, 36 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government have laws specifically prohibiting sexual relations between staff and inmates. A number of the laws prohibit staff-inmate sexual contact regardless of inmate consent, recognizing that such sexual relations cannot be truly consensual because of the power that staff have over inmates. Fourteen states do not have laws criminalizing sexual relations between staff and inmates.(7)"
(Historic Growth in Female Prison Population) "Female state prison population growth has far outpaced male growth in the past quarter-century. The number of women serving sentences of more than a year grew by 757 percent between 1977 and 2004 – nearly twice the 388 percent increase in the male prison population."Source:Frost, Natasha A.; Greene, Judith; and Pranis, Kevin, "HARD HIT: The Growth in the Imprisonment of Women, 1977-2004," Institute on Women & Criminal Justice (New York, NY: Women's Prison Association, May 2006), p. 9.
(Historic Growth in Female Imprisonment Rate) "During 2005 the number of females under the jurisdiction of State or Federal prison authorities increased by 2.6% (table 5). The number of males in prison rose 1.9%. At yearend 2005, 107,518 females and 1,418,406 males were in prison. Since 1995 the annual rate of growth in female prisoners averaged 4.6%, which was higher than the 3.0% increase in male prisoners. By yearend 2005 females accounted for 7.0% of all prisoners, up from 6.1% in 1995 and 5.7% in 1990."
(Men Guarding Female Prisoners) "Federal and state laws prohibit rape and sexual assault and the policies of jail and prison authorities generally prohibit sexual conduct that is not part of the duties of staff. However, the duties of male guards include conduct that is not prohibited by law but which greatly distresses female inmates, in particular searches for contraband which require guards to touch their bodies, and guards' surveillance of them when they are undressed.
"Under anti-discrimination employment laws in the USA, prisons and jails cannot refuse to employ men to supervise female inmates (or women to supervise male inmates) and in many states there are few restrictions on their duties. A 1997 survey of prisons in 40 states found that on average 41 percent of the correctional officers working with female inmates are men.(9)
"The employment of men to guard women is inconsistent with international standards set out in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. Rules 53(2) and 53(3) state that female prisoners should be attended and supervised only by female officers and that male staff, such as doctors and teachers who provide professional services in female facilities, should always be accompanied by female officers. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women has called on all countries to "fully implement the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and ensure that protective measures are guaranteed in all situations of custody."(10) Amnesty International agrees: the nature and extent of sexual abuse of female inmates by male staff in jails and prisons in the USA, and the harm that sexual abuse causes, warrants strong and immediate action by authorities to provide the protection to which incarcerated women are entitled under international standards."Source:Amnesty International, "Not Part of My Sentence: Violations of the Human Rights of Women in Custody" (Washington, DC: Amnesty International, March 1999).
(Treatment Facilities in the US Offering Programs or Groups for Women and Other Specific Client Types, 2012) "Facilities were asked about the provision of treatment programs or groups specially designed for specific client types. Overall, 82 percent of facilities offered at least one special program or group to serve a specific client type."
Proportion of Facilities Providing Special Programs or Groups Clients with Co-Occurring Mental and Substance Abuse Disorders 37% Adult Women 31% Persons Arrested for DUI or DWI 29% Adolescents 28% Adult Men 25% Other Criminal Justice System Clients1 23% Persons Who Have Experienced Trauma2 22% Pregnant or Postpartum Women 12% Persons with HIV or AIDS 8% Veterans 7% Seniors or Older Adults 7% Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Questioning (LGBTQ) Clients 6% Active Duty Military 4% Military Families 4%
1: Facilities treating incarcerated persons only were excluded from this report.
2: Persons who have experienced trauma, active duty military, and the military families categories appeared for the first time in the 2012 questionnaire.Source:Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS): 2012. Data on Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities. BHSIS Series S-66, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14-4809. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013, p. 26.
(Women Under-Represented in Substance Use Treatment Globally) "To be equally represented in treatment, the ratio of males to females in treatment should be similar to the ratio of males to females in problem drug use. Using past-month prevalence as a proxy for problematic use,24 gender-disaggregated data from EMCDDA on past-month prevalence and outpatient clients in treatment suggest that in most countries in Europe females could be underrepresented in treatment for the problematic use of cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines (see figure 5). There are few studies that analyse gender differences in the accessibility of treatment services; however, the ratio of males and females reported in treatment in Europe was 4:1 — higher than the ratio between male and female drug users.25 In many developing countries, there are limited services for the treatment and care of female drug users and the stigma associated with being a female drug user can make accessibility to treatment even more difficult. In Afghanistan, for instance, 10 per cent of all estimated drug users have access to treatment services,26 whereas only 4 per cent of female drug users and their partners have access to treatment services and interventions."
(Prevalence of LSD Use Among Young Women) "Our results indicate that this population of sexually active female adolescents and young adults have similar rates of lifetime use of LSD (13%) as reported in other surveys,1,30 and half of these young women report using LSD one or more times in the last year. Prior data suggests that the use of hallucinogens by African Americans is virtually nonexistent across all ages of adolescents and young adults.2,9 In fact, we found that none of our African American young women reported using LSD. However, the proportion of African Americans who reported using marijuana was much greater than either caucasian or Mexican American women."Source:Rickert, Vaughn I.; Siqueira, Lorena M.; Dale, Travis; and Wiemann, Constance M., "Prevalence and Risk Factors for LSD Use among Young Women," Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology (Washington, DC: North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, April 2003) Volume 16, Issue 2, p. 72.
(Children of Incarcerated Women) "More than 70 percent of women in prison have children. Even before a mother’s arrest and separation from the family unit, many children will have experienced emotional hardship associated with parental substance abuse and economic instability. While she is incarcerated they suffer additional trauma, anxiety, guilt, shame and fear.30
"More than half of mothers in prison have no visits with their children for the duration of their time behind bars.31 Children are generally subject to instability and uncertainly while their mothers are imprisoned."Source:Frost, Natasha A.; Greene, Judith; and Pranis, Kevin, "HARD HIT: The Growth in the Imprisonment of Women, 1977-2004," Institute on Women & Criminal Justice (New York, NY: Women's Prison Association, May 2006), p. 26.
(Ancillary Services Offered by Treatment Programs, 2002) "Facilities offering special programs or services for women were more likely to provide a variety of treatment services than facilities that did not offer such programs or services (Figure 1). These included transitional employment (with the largest difference, 42 percent vs. 25 percent), relapse prevention (83 percent vs. 67 percent), transportation assistance (42 percent vs. 26 percent), family counseling (83 percent vs. 69 percent), and pharmacotherapies (46 percent vs. 36 percent). Some 97 percent of facilities with women’s programs or services offered individual therapy compared with 91 percent of facilities without special women’s programs or services. In addition, 91 percent of facilities with women’s programs or services offered group therapy compared with 84 percent of the other facilities."Source:"Facilities Offering Special Programs or Services for Women," The Dasis Report (Washington, DC: Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies, Oct. 11, 2002), p. 2.
(Treatment Programs Providing Special Programs or Services For Women, 2002) "Of the 13,573 treatment facilities that responded to the 2000 N-SSATS [National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services], 60 percent reported that they provided at least one of the special programs or services for women. Almost one third of the facilities (33 percent) provided one program or service, 17 percent of the facilities provided two programs or services, 8 percent of the facilities provided three, and 3 percent provided all four programs or services (data not shown). Of the facilities providing programs or services for women, 63 percent reported providing programs for women only, 56 percent reported services addressing domestic violence, 34 percent provided programs for pregnant or postpartum women, and 16 percent offered on-site child care services."Source:"Facilities Offering Special Programs or Services for Women," The Dasis Report (Washington, DC: Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies, Oct. 11, 2002), pp. 1-2.
"Forty-four percent of women under correctional authority [including 57% of the women in State prisons], reported that they were physically or sexually assaulted at some time during their lives. Sixty-nine percent of women reporting an assault said that it had occurred before age 18."Source:Greenfield, Lawrence A., and Snell, Tracy L., Bureau of Justice Statistics, Women Offenders (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, December 1999), p. 8, Table 20.
(Mothers in Correctional System, 1997) "Approximately 7 in 10 women under correctional sanction have minor children & children under the age of 18. An estimated 72% of women on probation, 70% of women held in local jails, 65% of women in State prisons, and 59% of women in Federal prisons have young children.
"Women under correctional care, custody, or supervision with minor children reported an average of 2.11 children of this age. Those on probation reported the fewest, 2.07 young children per woman with children while those in State prison reported an average of 2.38 children under age 18.
"These estimates translate into more than 1.3 million minor children who are the offspring of women under correctional sanction; more than a quarter million of these children have mothers who are serving time in prison or jail. About two-thirds of women in State prisons and half of women in Federal prisons who had young children had lived with those children prior to entering prison."Source:Greenfield, Lawrence A., and Snell, Tracy L., Bureau of Justice Statistics, Women Offenders (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, December 1999), pp. 7-8.
(Growth in Drug Offense Convictions of Females 1990-1996) Between 1990 and 1996, the number of women convicted of drug felonies increased by 37% (from 43,000 in 1990 to 59,536 in 1996). The number of convictions for simple possession increased 41% over that period, from 18,438 in 1990 to 26,022 in 1996.Source:Greenfield, Lawrence A., and Snell, Tracy L., Bureau of Justice Statistics, Women Offenders (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, December 1999), p. 5, Table 11.
(Reasons for Increased Female Incarceration) "Other efforts to explain the sharp increase in women’s imprisonment have focused on the 'war on drugs,' with its emphasis on street-level sweeps of those engaged in the drug trade and harsh mandatory sentencing. The crackdown on drug crime was sold to the American public as the answer to an escalating epidemic of male violence. Yet despite their roles as relatively minor players in the drug trade, women – disproportionate numbers of them African American and Latina – have been 'caught in the net' of increasingly punitive policing, prosecutorial, and sentencing policies.19 Once in the system, women often have little choice but to accept plea bargains and then face mandatory minimum sentencing laws that restrict judges from mitigating the impact of their sentencing decisions in consideration of their family situations or their obvious need for substance abuse treatment."Source:Frost, Natasha A.; Greene, Judith; and Pranis, Kevin, "HARD HIT: The Growth in the Imprisonment of Women, 1977-2004," Institute on Women & Criminal Justice (New York, NY: Women's Prison Association, May 2006), pp. 23-24.
(Involvement in Australian Child Protection System) "The results of this study are important for the child protection field. They show that, rather than severity of substance use being associated with mothers’ involvement with the child protection system, other factors are of greater importance. Of particular interest was the finding that having greater social support, particularly from parents, significantly reduced the likelihood of being involved with the child protection system."Source:Taplin, Stephanie and Mattick, Richard P., "Child Protection and Mothers in Substance Abuse Treatment," National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (Sydney, Australia: University of New South Wales, November 2011), p. 9.