Beyond Lindsay Lohan

July 21, 2010 § 4 Comments


Right now Lindsay Lohan’s incarceration is all over the news. While most media outlets are obsessed with how much time Lindsay will be serving, it’s super important to remember the staggering and disturbing statistics of women in prison.

The following statistics are quoted directly from Women’s Prison Association’s Quick Facts Women and Criminal Justice — 2009. For more information, visit their website.

  • Over 200,000 women are in prison and jail in the United States, and more than one million women are under criminal justice supervision.
  • Two-thirds of women in prison are there for non-violent offenses, many for drug-related crimes.
  • Nearly two-thirds of women in prison are mothers.
  • 93 out of every 100,000 white women were incarcerated at midyear 2008. During the same time period, 349 out of every 100,000 black women and 147 out of every 100,000 Hispanic women were incarcerated.

According to Amnesty International’s Women and Prison: Fact Sheet, women in prison often experience sexual assault and misconduct due to the extreme power imbalance between officers and inmates, including guards’ ability to withhold privileges. In addition, women in prison experience medical neglect, including shackling during pregnancy, as well as severe discrimination based on gender, race and sexual orientation. For more information about women in prison and other issues of women’s human rights, go to Amnesty’s site.


§ 4 Responses to Beyond Lindsay Lohan

  • katiee says:

    YES. Also, many of those women imprisoned for drug use were pregnant at the time, but the culture of zero tolerance policies and the “crack baby” myth end up hurting them and their children. If you create a culture in which pregnant, addicted women have nowhere to turn for help, get this: they won’t. Throwing them in jail does nothing but hurt innocent women and children.

    I dream of the day a mainstream politician will say “Liberalizing drug laws is the best thing for women and children, particularly women and children of color.”

  • Elizabeth says:

    “I dream of the day a mainstream politician will say “Liberalizing drug laws is the best thing for women and children, particularly women and children of color.””

    I’m curious about your comment — why particularly for women and children of color? What does that imply about race and our society? Aside from the legality, I can just imagine the flack a politician would receive for making such a racist statement, as it would definitely be perceived so…

  • Dava says:

    If you’re interested in incarcerated women’s lives and stories, Couldn’t Keep It to Myself, edited by Wally Lamb, is an incredible book:

    I strongly recommend it.

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