The growing population of women in prison, and the news in criminal justice this week

“We can’t continue to lock up the problem.” 

Kentucky’s Smart on Crime Coalition is pushing for measures that will address the growing population of women in jails and prisons. Possible proposals include  an increase in the felony theft threshold, and increased funding for addiction treatment and diversion with a focus on “support and services, not a jail cell.” 

 

“You quickly get pulled into the criminal justice system and it’s very hard to get out of it.”

Oklahoma, whose rate of female incarceration is the nation’s highest, is rethinking its approach to female imprisonment just like Kentucky. Reforms to reclassify minor crimes and increase treatment programs are starting to take effect, but “Oklahoma did not come to have the highest incarceration rate in the country overnight and we’re not going to be able to reverse the trend overnight.” 

 

“The charges were either dropped or dismissed, but the judge sent him to prison anyway." 

Meek Mill’s case put a spotlight on problems in the probation system, and activists are seizing the moment. “The public attention to Meek Mill’s case is an opportunity for all of us to demand broader reforms of our unjust criminal justice system.” 

 

“Same crimes, different times.” 

The United States Sentencing Commission released a report on sentencing disparities, showing sharp racial and gender divisions. Even after controlling for a variety of factors, black men receive 20 percent longer prison sentences, on average, according to the USSC.

“We cannot have it both ways.” 

A new report from the American Enterprise Institute and Grant Duwe, research director for the Minnesota Department of Corrections, calls for broad reforms to reduce recidivism. “As long as we indulge our collective appetite for retribution, we cannot reasonably expect our prisons to successfully reduce recidivism.”