Think Justice Blog

Gender and Justice in America

No country incarcerates more women than the United States. Although American women comprise just five percent of the total global female population, we represent nearly a third of the world’s female prisoners. In addition, the number of girls in youth facilities continues to rise even as male populations shrink, and increasing numbers of girls and women with children enter the civil immigration detention system. However, due to the size and scope of the male prison population in the age of mass incarceration, the unique challenges these women and girls face when they become involved in justice systems are often overlooked. Through the Gender & Justice in America blog series, Vera will explore issues facing justice-involved women and girls in the fields of adult corrections, youth justice, immigration, victimization, substance use, and mental health.

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  • Erika Turner
    Erika Turner
March 28, 2017

Series: Gender and Justice in America

Women’s History Month Round-Up

Women and girls are too often invisible in talks of criminal justice and reform. Although they comprise a minority of people who are incarcerated in the United States, they are a fast growing population, with unique entry points into the system. They also pres...

  • Sarah  Zarba
    Sarah Zarba
January 19, 2017

Series: Gender and Justice in America

More Incarcerated Women Deserve Clemency

Former President Obama commuted the sentences of more people in one year than any other president in our nation’s history.  The total number of clemencies—including pardons and sentence commutations granted? 1,715. The number of women granted clemency? 106. ...

  • Kristi  DiLallo
    Kristi DiLallo
January 17, 2017

Series: Gender and Justice in America

How the Criminalization of Adolescence Fuels the School-to-Prison Pipeline

In her new play on the school-to-prison pipeline, Notes from the Field, actress and playwright Anna Deveare Smith reenacts interviews with 17 people from the education and criminal justice systems. The school-to-prison pipeline is a national trend in which chi...

  • Taylar Nuevelle
    Taylar Nuevelle
August 22, 2016

Series: Gender and Justice in America

Breaking the silence about women in prison

We like to think incarcerated women are so different from the general population. But that’s simply not true. I often say: If you want to understand sexism in America, go to a women’s prison. Gender bias for incarcerated women is the same bias that forces free...

  • Charmaine  Davis
    Charmaine Davis
August 15, 2016

Series: Gender and Justice in America

Mass incarceration and its impact are devastating to women

9to5, National Association of Working Women—of which I am the Georgia chapter director—understands the devastating impact mass incarceration has on women. The rate of growth for female imprisonment has outpaced men by more than 50 percent between 1980 and 20...

  • Evan Zavidow
May 10, 2016

Series: Gender and Justice in America

Transgender people at higher risk for justice system involvement

While recent  police brutality headlines have motivated movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName, activism surrounding transgender people has been pushed to the margins in mainstream media. In response to police violence against transgender people, #Bl...

  • Juhu Thukral
    Juhu Thukral
April 25, 2016

Series: Gender and Justice in America

The intersection of immigration and criminal justice for women, girls, and transgender people

Americans are currently in a self-reflective mood: Primary voting turnout for the 2016 Presidential election has so far been extremely robust, with no hint of slowing down—a sure sign people are invested in who we are and where we are going as a country. Relat...

  • Chelsea Davis
    Chelsea Davis
November 30, 2015

Series: Gender and Justice in America

The gendered, multigenerational impact of incarceration on education and the social capital of communities

It’s no coincidence that the number of Americans with college diplomas is the same as those with criminal records—the relationship between a lack of education and criminal justice involvement, especially for girls and women, is bi-directional, complex, and pro...

  • Lindsay Rosenthal
    Lindsay Rosenthal
October 26, 2015

Series: Gender and Justice in America

Ending the unjust treatment of girls charged with minor offenses

Since the early 90s, research has shown that girls in the juvenile justice system are more likely than their male peers to be detained for status offenses and minor delinquent behavior. The findings of a recent study by researchers at the University of Texas p...

  • Ruth Delaney
    Ruth Delaney
October 13, 2015

Series: Gender and Justice in America

Who pays in an offender-funded justice system?

A new report from the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Research Action Design lays bare the significant impact that mass male incarceration has on women who remain in the community—a critically important and often overlooked aspect of our current offende...

  • Lindsay Rosenthal
    Lindsay Rosenthal
September 15, 2015

Series: Gender and Justice in America

Juvenile justice reform is not about boys vs. girls

When faced with the reality of the justice system’s impact on girls and the lack of reform efforts directed at girls’ unique pathways into the juvenile justice system, Russell Simmons—a longtime advocate for justice reform—acknowledged that he had not been pay...

  • Laura Macomber
August 31, 2015

Series: Gender and Justice in America

Keeping families whole in German prisons

People visit the Mecklenberg-Western Pomerania region of northeastern Germany to see its sparkling lakes, sweeping fields, and charming coastal towns that flood with tourists in the summer. Most people do not go there to visit the incarcerated youth at its juv...

  • Chelsea Davis
    Chelsea Davis
August 19, 2015

Series: Gender and Justice in America

Women suffer when drug treatment focuses on men’s needs

In the last 10 years, heroin use among women has doubled, yet few drug treatment programs consider women’s unique needs and current punitive drug policies disproportionately entangle women of color and economically disadvantaged women in cycles of arrest, inca...

  • Tess Domb Sadof
August 10, 2015

Series: Gender and Justice in America

Alternatives to incarceration for moms aim to strengthen families

When mothers who act as primary caregivers serve time in prison, the loss of emotional and tangible support they provide—in the form of regular caretaking, income, housing, and more—can have a traumatic and disruptive impact on their families and communities. ...

  • Chelsea Davis
    Chelsea Davis
July 07, 2015

Series: Gender and Justice in America

Reproductive justice should be included in reform efforts

After decades of mass incarceration, policymakers around the country are realizing the unintended consequences of using the criminal justice system to deal with the social and public health problems of homelessness, drug use, mental illness, and poverty. Despi...

  • Ruth Delaney
    Ruth Delaney
  • Ryan Shanahan
    Ryan Shanahan
June 19, 2015

Series: Gender and Justice in America

A new blog series

No country incarcerates more women than the United States. Although American women comprise just five percent of the total global female population, we represent nearly a third of the world’s female prisoners—a rate that outstrips even America’s unprecedented ...