Data Around Mass Incarceration

A 2006 study found that 93% of women in California state prisons had experienced physical or sexual abuse at some point in their lives.

A 2015 study by the California Coalition for Women Prisoners found that 85% of women in California state prisons reported being domestic violence survivors.

In 2019, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reported that 62% of female inmates in California had been convicted of a violent offense, with many of those offenses relatedThe majority of women in California's prisons are mothers, with approximately 80% of incarcerated women being mothers to minor children.

Domestic violence is a significant factor in the criminalization of women's behavior. In a study of women in California state prisons, 67% reported that their offense was related to their involvement with an abusive partner.

Women who have experienced domestic violence are more likely to receive harsher sentences and longer periods of incarceration compared to women who have not experienced abuse.

According to a report by the California Women's Law Center, women of color are disproportionately impacted by the intersection of domestic violence and the criminal justice system. African American women are twice as likely to be incarcerated for a drug offense compared to their white counterparts, and Latinx women are more likely to be incarcerated for an immigration offense.

Access to services and support can make a significant difference in reducing the likelihood of women's involvement in the criminal justice system. For example, a study by the Prison University Project found that incarcerated women who participated in college-level courses had significantly lower rates of disciplinary infractions and recidivism compared to those who did not participate in educational programs. to domestic violence.

The recidivism rate for women in California is high, with more than 50% of women being rearrested within three years of release.

Women who have been incarcerated face numerous challenges when reentering society, including finding stable housing, accessing employment, and obtaining basic needs like transportation and healthcare.

Women who have experienced domestic violence face additional challenges when reentering society, including trauma, limited access to resources and support, and stigma associated with criminal records.

Women who are mothers face unique challenges when reentering society, including difficulties in regaining custody of their children, limited access to childcare, and concerns about being able to provide for their families.

Research has shown that providing comprehensive support services to women during the reentry process can significantly reduce the likelihood of recidivism. Programs that provide education and job training, substance abuse treatment, mental health services, and housing assistance have been shown to be effective in helping women successfully reenter society.

The state of California has implemented several initiatives aimed at supporting women's successful reentry, including funding for community-based organizations that provide support services, as well as policies to promote alternatives to incarceration and reduce barriers to employment and housing for individuals with criminal records.

Most arrests are for minor offenses. Turning the tide on mass incarceration requires effective solutions for every charge level. However, decreasing the number of low-level arrests is an essential strategy. This approach would be especially impactful for women: in nearly every county, misdemeanors account for an even greater proportion of arrests for women than they do for men. One major study found that prosecuting fewer people for low-level, nonviolent misdemeanors reduced future involvement with the criminal legal system, resulting in less incarceration and greater public safety.