The number of women in prison, a third of whom are incarcerated for drug offenses, is increasing at nearly double the rate for men. These women often have significant histories of physical and sexual abuse, high rates of HIV infection, and substance abuse. Large-scale women’s imprisonment has resulted in an increasing number of children who suffer from their mother’s incarceration and the loss of family ties.
|“[Donnie] Belcher defied the odds, growing up straight as an arrow despite having a mother in prison. Her childhood was part of a national trend. The incarceration rates for U.S. mothers began to surge in the 1980s, fueled by the crack cocaine epidemic and tougher mandatory sentencing laws, experts said. A recent study by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics found the number of incarcerated mothers rose 131 percent from 1991 to 2007, while the number of fathers in prison increased 77 percent during the same period. According to the Sentencing Project, a Washington-based nonprofit, about 1.7 million children have a parent in prison.”
May 07, 2009 (CNN.com)