Behind bars

Women of color overrepresented in American criminal justice system

A mother hugs her child on Mother's Day at California Institute for Women state prison in Chino, California. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

We’ve told you about the rapid growth of women behind bars in the United States and beyond but a new roundup from the Center for American Progress points out six facts about women of color in prison, shedding light on important realities. Many policies in America leave women of color more vulnerable than their white counterparts, which means greater risk of jail time and puts more than double the number of African American women behind bars. Black women and Latinas have been targeted by the “war on drugs” and have a higher likelihood of caught in the system for a drug offense, and at least 71 percent of all women incarcerated reported having been “exposed to domestic violence,” the Center for American Progress reported.

At least six percent of incarcerated women are pregnant and are often subject to shackling during childbirth — at least 28 states have no laws to ban the practice. And for younger African American and Native American girls, there is a much greater chance of spending time in a juvenile facility or being suspended from school.

Read the full story at the Center for American Progress.

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