By Michael Pittaro, assistant professor, Criminal Justice at American Military University
The number of females in prison, jail, and probation populations has grown at a considerably faster rate than males. Despite this growth, the correctional system is failing to address the rehabilitation needs of women during and after incarceration.
Between 2000 and 2010, the number of females in state or federal prisons grew by 21 percent compared to a 15 percent increase in the male population during that same period, according to the National Institute of Corrections. Since 2010, the female jail population is the fastest growing correctional population, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
The National Resource Center for Justice Involved Women, an organization dedicated to helping female offenders, emphasized that although adult women comprise about 7 percent of the total U.S. correctional population, they encounter more challenges than their male counterparts. For example, female offenders experience barriers to suitable housing, have greater difficulty obtaining and sustaining employment, have less family support, and tend to have extensive histories of substance abuse, physical and/or sexual victimization, and mental illness when compared to male offenders.
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