Critical Analysis of Women Behind Bars Essay

4460 Words Dec 25th, 2013 18 Pages
Abstract
More and more women-mothers, grandmothers, wives, daughters, and sisters are doing hard prison time all across the United States. Many of them are facing the prospect of years, decades, even lifetimes behind bars. Oddly, there’s been little public discussion about the dramatic increase of women in the prison system. What exactly is happening here, and why?
This paper will be a critical analysis of the book, “Women Behind Bars: The Crisis of Women in the U.S. Prison System. This paper will

Introduction

Journalist Silja Talvi’s Women Behind Bars: The Crisis of Women in The U.S Prison System is an overview of issues affecting incarcerated women. The goal of the book Women
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Meanwhile, “the number of incarcerated adult women has jumped by a shocking 757% since 1977, at nearly twice the rate of male prisoners” (Harrison & Beck, 2006). “The number of women in prisons and jails has reached a milestone,” explains Kara Gotsch, director of advocacy for the Sentencing project in Washington, DC. One of the main reasons why women are being locked up at an alarming rate is a result of a policy of mass incarceration. “Mass incarceration is a rate of incarceration so high that it affects not only the individual offender, but also whole social groups.” (American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2011) Pursuing further, another main reason of the increase of incarceration of women are the sentencing policies brought about by the “war on drugs.”
“At the Federal level, prisoners incarcerated on a drug charge comprise half of the prison population, while the number of drug offenders in state prisons has increased thirteen-fold since 1980. Most of these people are not high-level actors in the drug trade, and most have no prior criminal record for a violent offense.” (sentencingpolicy.org)
According to an excerpt in the Journal of Criminology, women are more likely to serve time for drug-related offenses and are less likely to serve time for violent offenses. (Lalonde & Cho, 2008) In addition, with the passage of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, women began to be arrested and charged with impunity, and were threatened increasingly with conspiracy charges if…