Up to date on March 1, 2022: This piece was initially revealed on March 1, 2020, and has been up to date to mirror the newest statistics.
Girls’s Historical past Month is an event to acknowledge developments in gender equality and the achievements of ladies around the globe in the whole lot from media to science to prison justice reform. However it’s additionally an event to acknowledge the work that must be accomplished to really set up gender equality in all elements of life.
In relation to incarceration and wrongful conviction, girls face distinctive challenges each as immediately impacted people and because the individuals who shoulder a lot of the monetary and caretaking burden when family members are incarcerated.
But conversations about mass incarceration have usually missed girls, although they’re the fastest-growing group of incarcerated folks, according to the Prison Policy Initiative.
Listed here are eight necessary details about girls and incarceration within the U.S. that you must know.
1. The inhabitants of ladies in state prisons has grown at greater than twice the speed of the inhabitants of males in state prisons.
Girls account for roughly 10% of the two.3 million incarcerated folks within the U.S., however regardless of making up a comparatively small share of the general incarcerated inhabitants, the variety of girls in state prisons is rising at a a lot sooner fee than males. Between 1978 and 2015, the feminine state jail inhabitants grew by 834%.
2. Girls are disproportionately incarcerated in jails the place greater than half of them haven’t but been convicted of a criminal offense and are nonetheless presumed harmless.
About 231,000 women have been detained in jails and prisons throughout the U.S. in 2019, with roughly 101,000 being held in native jails. Among the many girls in these native jails, 60% had not but been discovered responsible of a criminal offense and have been awaiting trial. One contributing issue to the excessive fee of ladies in jails pre-trial is that ladies are much less doubtless to have the ability to afford to make bail or to pay different charges and fines that will forestall them from returning residence to await their trials, according to the Vera Institute of Justice.
3. Most incarcerated girls are moms.
Greater than 60% of ladies in jail have kids underneath the age of 18 and practically 80% of ladies in jail are moms, the Jail Coverage Initiative experiences. Incarcerated girls are typically single mother and father or major caretakers extra usually than incarcerated males, according to the Vera Institute. Which means their incarceration is prone to have a serious impression on their kids and relations. Many kids of incarcerated moms are positioned in foster care.
Girls usually tend to be incarcerated far-off from their kids as a result of there are fewer girls’s prisons than males’s making it tough and expensive for his or her kids and relations to see them in individual. After their incarceration, it may be extraordinarily difficult for moms to reunite with kids positioned in foster care.
4. 2 hundred and fifty-eight girls have been exonerated since 1989.
Of the two,991 individuals who have been exonerated within the final three a long time, about 9% have been girls, in keeping with information from the National Registry of Exonerations.
5. Most feminine exonerees have been convicted of crimes that by no means occurred.
About 71% of ladies exonerated within the final three a long time have been wrongfully convicted of crimes that by no means happened in any respect, in keeping with information from the National Registry of Exonerations. These “crimes” included occasions later decided to be accidents, deaths by suicide, and crimes that have been fabricated.
6. Greater than 1 / 4 of feminine exonerees have been wrongly convicted of harming a toddler of their care.
About 28% of feminine exonerees have been convicted of crimes wherein the sufferer was a toddler, in keeping with information from the National Registry of Exonerations.
These embody 9 girls who have been convicted of shaking a child to loss of life. Thousands of people have been accused, and lots of convicted, of harming kids by violently shaking them and inflicting a situation generally known as Abusive Head Trauma (beforehand known as “shaken child syndrome”). Nevertheless, scientists and medical consultants have said the three signs used to diagnose Abusive Head Trauma — diffuse mind swelling, subdural hemorrhage and retinal hemorrhages — can all end result from many different causes, together with illnesses, falling at residence, and even the birthing course of, and that the idea of “shaken child syndrome” has by no means been validated.
7. Solely 13 girls have been exonerated with the assistance of DNA proof.
DNA proof was central to proving the innocence of 5 of those girls, and helped to show the innocence of the eight different girls along with different important components, in keeping with information from the National Registry of Exonerations.
The variety of girls exonerated with the assistance of DNA proof is considerably decrease than the variety of males exonerated by DNA proof — greater than 300 — largely because of the types of crimes of which girls are typically convicted. Extra males are convicted of crimes like rape and homicide, wherein extra DNA proof is prone to be left behind, than girls.
8. False or deceptive forensic proof contributed to the wrongful convictions of 94 girls who’ve since been exonerated.
Errors in forensic testing, data based mostly on unreliable or unproven forensic strategies, fraudulent data or proof, and forensic data introduced with exaggerated and deceptive confidence can all contribute to wrongful convictions. Such components contributed to the wrongful convictions of no less than 94 women, whose convictions have been overturned over the past three a long time.