Confined in California: Women and Girls of Colour in Custody


Confined in California: Women and Girls of Colour in Custody

6 years ago 6 years ago Published by Leave your thoughts
This report was published by African American Policy Forum.


As home to the largest women’s prison in the nation, California plays a dominant role in the incarceration of women. In 2008, there were approximately 20,000 women incarcerated in the state’s prisons and local jails. In addition, there are currently approximately 1,300 women incarcerated in the Federal Correctional Institution and Camp in Dublin.

Incarceration is a major driver of the state’s economy. In 2007 – 2008, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation accounted for more than one-quarter (28.7 percent), or $35.1 billion, of the total state and local criminal justice expenditures. The growth in spending on corrections largely has been the result of ‘churning’ offenders through the prison system. Churning is the practice of arresting parolees and probationers for technical violations and returning them to custody for generally short sentences.

The increase in spending is also attributable to ‘the radical failures’ of an earlier era, ‘resulting in prisons’ emerging as a ‘partial geographical solution to political economic crises.’ The foundation of this research assesses what is known about women and girls in general, recognizing that these women and girls are disproportionately of color. Where data support more specific observations, including data pointing to the over-representation of women and girls of color, its contours and implications are explored.

Morris, M., Bush-Baskette, S., & Crenshaw, K. (2013). Confined in California: women and girls of color in custody. African American Policy Forum.

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