[QODLink]
Fault Lines

Women Behind Bars

Fault Lines investigates the rapid growth of America's female prison population.

Last Modified: 12 Oct 2013 14:12
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Women are the fastest growing population in the criminal justice system. Low level drugs offences and crimes associated with poverty have swept in hundreds of thousands of women across the US.

It's like a maze with a bunch of mice in it that are fed poison.

Sonja Marcus, a former prison inmate

Many have spent years behind bars for non-violent offences.

In California, after promises of prison reform, women continue to face some of the highest levels of overcrowding.

And while the state boasts of significantly reducing the female prison population, county jails have disproportionately filled up with women who are still being swept in for the lowest-level crimes.

Allen Hooper, from the American Civil Liberties Union, explains: "The prison construction, sort of filled a void and a vacuum, both in terms of keeping the economy going just with the construction and the jobs and then also people who were unemployed because of the economy who get caught up in crimes of poverty ... You scoop them up you figure out excuses to put them in those cages."

Fault Lines travels to California to look inside the criminal justice system and asks why so many women are behind bars. 

Fault Lines can be seen on Al Jazeera English each week at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 2230; Thursday: 0930; Friday: 0330; Saturday: 1630.

Watch more Fault Lines

264

Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
The group's takeover of farms in Qaraqosh, 30km from Mosul, has caused fear among residents, and a jump in food prices.
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
join our mailing list