The number of women imprisoned for drug offenses increased 888 percent between 1986 and 1996, according to a study by The Sentencing Project, a national nonprofit organization. Gender and Justice: Women, Drugs and Sentencing Policy shows that the women's prison population more than doubled during these 10 years and that drug offenses accounted for 49 percent of the rise. The study also focuses on California, Minnesota and New York and documents significant variations among the three states. From 1986 to 1995, there was almost a 91 percent increase in New York women sentenced for drug offenses, compared to a 55 percent increase in California and a 26 percent increase in Minnesota.
Low income, declining economic opportunities for many women, limited treatment options and more mandatory sentencing policies are some reasons for this dramatic increase. Marc Mauer, assistant director of The Sentencing Project and co-author of the report, says, "The `war on drugs' and harsh sentencing policies have combined to make a bad situation worse for many women." Mauer also points out that "the unprecedented growth in the number of women prisoners affects not only women, but also their thousands of children as well," as two-thirds of women in prison have children younger than 18. In 1991, half of women inmates reported they never received visits from their children.
HIV infection among state and federal prison inmates dropped from 2.3 percent to 2.1 percent in 1997, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (I3JS). In 1996, there were 23,881 HIV-infected inmates and 23,548 in 1997 (22,518 state inmates and 1,030 federal inmates). AIDS-related deaths dropped from 907 in 1996 to 538 in 1997 and from 100 deaths per 100,000 inmates in 1995 to 48 deaths per 100,000 inmates in 1997.
The study showed that the Northeast had nearly half of HIV-positive state inmates (6.4 percent of inmates in the Northeast were HIV-positive), followed by the South at 2 percent, .09 percent in the Midwest and .08 percent in the West. Females had higher HIV infection rates than male inmates in most states and the HIV infection rate also was higher among black and Hispanic inmates compared to white inmates.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||HIV in correctional institutions|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2000|
|Previous Article:||State to State.|
|Next Article:||Employment and Crime: Revisiting the Resiliency Effect of Work on Crime.|