Mass Incarceration Reports

Joseph in prison, USA, 1906, 14391 U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress
Joseph in prison, USA, 1906, 14391 U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress

The Prison Policy Institute has issued an annual “Mass Incarceration: the Whole Pie” report since 2014. An additional groundbreaking PPI report was recently issued called “Women’s Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2023.” Data about women prisoners are often hard to find on the 172,700 women and girls incarcerated in the USA. More information will be presented by Katy Dickinson in “Women of Faith in Jail” at the GTU Graduate Student Conference: Women and Religion, at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, on 28 April 2023. Click here for more information.

“Women of Faith in Jail” will present a jail chaplain’s view on how women prisoners’s experience, especially their faith experience, is different from that of men in the American justice system. In many ways, the lives of American women and men prisoners are similarly marginalized; however, the systemic social and economic disadvantages of women in our society are reflected in the lives of female inmates. There are about 270 women prisoners in Santa Clara County jails, about 10% of the jail population of 2,970. More women are held in jails than state prisons. PPI reports, “60% of women in jails under local control have not been convicted of a crime and are awaiting trial.” While 60% is disturbing, it is better than the 80% of jail prisoners overall still in the justice process. The great majority of all jail prisoners are unsentenced, meaning that they are legally innocent, unconvicted, and in a justice process that may take years to complete. Percentages are dropping but people of color continue to be disproportionately represented among America’s 1.9 million prisoners. Read the PPI reports for current data. More about America’s incarceration rate is available from PEW Research. Despite the downward trends, we still have the highest incarceration rate in the world,

More on the 1906 image of “Joseph Faithful in Prison” is available from the U.S. Library of Congress.

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