Crime: Prison Population

Overall national prison population separated by age and gender.
Overall national prison population separated by age and gender.  

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Program Working for Growing Female Prison Population
Published Saturday, February 21st, 2009

A report completed for the United Kingdom has reviewed a scheme—originating from a similar program in Oregon—that separated gender when it came to justice for certain crimes. The model works off another program that involves electronic tagging, work, and training, but this is a special version for young women aged 15-17. For 25 hours a week, the young women attend one-to-one sessions on issues ranging from healthy relationships to domestic violence. The women are also allowed to participate in drama and dance activities. The program accepts about 70 girls each year, the completion rate for the 6-month program is 70% and these young women do not reoffend. Another report stated that female prisoners who are in the normal system of prisons are 20 times more likely to commit suicide than their free counterparts.

The UK report states that the lack of gender-specific programs stems from the low numbers of women prisoners in both the UK and the US prison systems. The US Department of Justice and the Bureau of Prisons state that the US prison system population has experienced a steady increase in the number of women who are locked away. From 1990 to 2005, the number has more than doubled system wide to nearly 100,000.

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U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics: Jail Population - http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/pjim06.htm
Presents data on prison and jail inmates collected from National Prisoner Statistics counts and the Annual Survey of Jails, 2006. This annual report provides the number of inmates and the overall incarceration rate per 100,000 residents for each State and the Federal system. It offers trends since 2000 and percentage changes in prison populations since midyear and yearend 2005.

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Department of Justice: Restorative Justice Program - http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/topics/courts/restorative-justice/welcome.htm
For some time now there has been growing dissatisfaction with the justice system. Citizens feel disconnected, victims are dissatisfied, and those working in the system are frustrated. Policymakers are increasingly concerned about the burgeoning cost of justice in the face of this discontent and the high rates of recidivism that exist.