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1 Module 3 : Characteristics and Pathways of Women Offenders.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Module 3 : Characteristics and Pathways of Women Offenders."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Module 3 : Characteristics and Pathways of Women Offenders

2 2 Who Are the Women Offenders in the Community? :

3 3 Overview Why profile women offenders? Two big stories: Growth Growth Drug offenses Drug offenses Characteristics of women offenders Pathways to imprisonment The connection: abuse – drugs – crime Implications for correctional practices.

4 4 Why Profile Women Offenders? Womens pathways to the criminal justice system & womens needs are different from mens Women offenders represent different challenges to supervision compared with men Good correctional practice acknowledges these differences

5 5 Where are Women Offenders Serving Time? As of year end 2000: 70,414 women were in jails 844,697 were on probation 91,612 were in State or Federal prisons 87,063 women were on parole*

6 In other words… In other words… 1,093,786 women are now under some form of correctional supervision in this country... about 1 of every 109 adult women in the United States.

7 Look at It This Way... The number of women in U.S. prisons has more than doubled since 1990

8 8 In other words… Since 1990… The number of male prisoners has grown 77% The number of women prisoners has grown 108%

9 9 Offenders Under Correctional Control by Gender % Change ProbationFemalesMales480,6422,189,592844,6972,994, JailFemalesMales27,198365,82170,414543, Prison (State and Federal) FemalesMales44,065729,84091,6121,290, ParoleFemalesMales42,513488,89487,063638, TotalFemalesMales604,4183,774,1471,093,7865,466, Sources: Bureau of Justice Statistics (2001d). Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear Bureau of Justice Statistics (2001c). Prisoners in Bureau of Justice Statistics (2001b). National Correctional Population.

10 10 Offense Patterns.

11 11 Trends in Womens Crime Arrests in 1998 totaled ~14.4 million: 11.2 million for men and 3.2 million for women Women accounted for only 17% of all arrests for violent crime. About 69% of all arrests of women were for larceny-theft or drug/alcohol crimes.

12 12 Trends in Offense Patterns Nearly 3/4 of women prisoners are serving a sentence for a non-violent offense. More than 1/3 have no prior history of criminal convictions. More than 1/3 have no prior history of criminal convictions. Women are: Women are: Much more likely than men to be serving time for a drug offense Much more likely than men to be serving time for a drug offense Less likely to have been sentenced for a violent crime Less likely to have been sentenced for a violent crime

13 13 Differences in Female & Male Offense Patterns (1998) FemalesMales Violent27%48% Property26%21% Drug35%19% Public Order 10% 9% Other 2% 3%

14 14 Offenses of Women in Jail or Prison OffenseJail% State Prison % Federal Prison % Violent7, , Property21, ,304271,10412 Drug19, ,568346,62472 Public-Order15,310248, Total63, , ,108100

15 15 Offense Characteristics Drug Offenses account for half of the rise in number of women in prison compared to one third for the number for men In the past 10 years, the arrest rate for women has increased by about 32% while the imprisonment rate has increased by 159% In 1979, violent female offenders were half of the population, in 1997 they were just over a quarter of the population.

16 16 Differences in Female & Male Criminal History Men more likely to have higher number of prior convictions Women more likely to be on probation prior to imprisonment Past convictions: –Priors: 65% of women; 77% of men –Both adult & juvenile: 16% of women; 31% of men

17 17 Questions…. How is your population distributed across the basic (violent, property, drug, other) categories? What implications do these profiles have for correctional supervision in your system?

18 18 Pathways to the Criminal Justice System.

19 19 Characteristics of Women Under Correctional Supervision % Community Supervision % Jail % Prison Race/EthnicityWhite African American Hispanic Median Age High School/GED Single Unemployed Mother of Minor Children

20 20 Women Offenders: Typical Life History Nearly 6 in 10 women grew up in a household with at least one parent absent. About half report that an immediate family member had also served time. About half report that an immediate family member had also served time. More than 40% reported prior physical or sexual abuse. More than 40% reported prior physical or sexual abuse. Of those, 69% said it happened before age 18. Of those, 69% said it happened before age 18.

21 21 Socioeconomic Status Economically disadvantaged as compared to men Economically disadvantaged as compared to men Are typically undereducated, unskilled, & underemployed Are typically undereducated, unskilled, & underemployed Employment in entry level, low skill & low pay jobs Employment in entry level, low skill & low pay jobs

22 22 Education & E mployment An estimated 55% of women in jail, 56% in state prisons & 73% in federal prisons have a high school degree Approximately 40% of women in state prisons were employed at the time of arrest compared to 60% of males 37% of women compared to 28% of men had incomes of less than $600 per month prior to arrest

23 23 Family Background Almost 17% lived in foster care or in a group home More likely than men to have at least one family member that has been incarcerated

24 Race & Ethnicity Make a Difference African-American women comprise only 13% of all women in this country, yet they comprise nearly half of the women in prison. Black, non-Hispanic women were 3 times more likely than Hispanic women & 6 times more likely than white women to be incarcerated in 2000.

25 Women Offenders and Their Children 70% of all women under correctional sanction have at least one child younger than 18. Based on 1998 data, more than 1.3 million children have mothers under correctional sanction. 233,600 minor children have an incarcerated mother. In all, 1,941,796 minor children have a parent in jail or prison...

26 26 When a parent is incarcerated, it matters which parent it is. For Federal prisoners: if it is the father, 92% of the children continue in their mothers care if it is the mother, only 26% stay in the fathers care. More than half of the children of women prisoners never visit their mothers during incarceration

27

28 28 Substance Abuse Approximately 80% in state prisons have substance abuse problems About half had been using alcohol, drugs, or both at the time of their offense Nearly 1 in 3 women in state prisons report committing the offense to support a drug habit Women offenders in state prisons report higher drug usage than their male counterparts

29 29 Violence Against Women and Children Witnessing domestic violence as a child may cause increased vulnerability to victimization in adulthood Witnessing domestic violence as a child may cause increased vulnerability to victimization in adulthood Women in the CJ system have extensive histories of physical & sexual abuse & they are three times more likely to have a history of abuse than their male counterparts Women in the CJ system have extensive histories of physical & sexual abuse & they are three times more likely to have a history of abuse than their male counterparts One-third of women in state prison & one-quarter of those in jails report being raped at some time in their lives One-third of women in state prison & one-quarter of those in jails report being raped at some time in their lives

30 30 Physical & Sexual Abuse Physically or sexually abused at some time in their lives Women offenders are 3 times more likely than men to have a history of abuse Womens substance abuse is highly correlated with physical & sexual abuse

31 31 Women Offenders & Abuse History Women with an abuse history are more likely than women with no prior abuse to be incarcerated for a violent offense (42% versus 25%). Nearly 1/3 of women in prison serving sentences for murder were convicted of killing a husband or ex-husband.

32 32 Look at It This Way...

33 33 Angela Brownes Study Of 150 women interviewed in a womens prison, 70% reported severe physical violence from caretaker Almost 60% reported sexual abuse 75% reported violence from adult intimate Only 6% said they had experienced no violence or sexual abuse Prevalence & Severity of Lifetime Physical & Sexual Victimization Among Incarcerated Women International J. of Law & Psychiatry vol. 22, no. 3-4: pages (1999)

34 34 Characteristics of Women Offenders Disproportionately women of color Disproportionately women of color In their early to mid-thirties In their early to mid-thirties Most likely to have been convicted of drug or drug- related offense Most likely to have been convicted of drug or drug- related offense Fragmented family histories with other family members in the CJ system Fragmented family histories with other family members in the CJ system Survivors of physical and/or sexual abuse Survivors of physical and/or sexual abuse

35 35. Adapted from the work of Barbara Owen, Ph.D. California State University – Fresno (2005)


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