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Female arrests, incarceration on the rise, DOJ report shows

[JURIST] The number of women incarcerated in state and federal prisons in 2004 was up by four percent compared with the year before, with women making up seven percent of all inmates, according to a report [PDF text] issued Sunday by the US DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics. The increase in female incarcerations is more than double the 1.8 percent for their male counterparts. According to an author of the report, the upswing can be linked to the increased participation of women in drug crimes, violent crimes and fraud, though the Sentencing Project [advocacy website] says that the increase is due in large part to sentencing policies in the war on drugs. According to FBI figures [text], there were more arrests made for drug violations in 2004 than any other offense and those sentenced on drug-related offenses made up of 55 percent of all federal inmates in 2003. The Sentencing Project said US policy makers would be wise to consider alternatives to both current sentencing and drug policies. The Justice Policy Institute [advocacy website] said that the statistics do not show a relationship between prison population growth and the crime rate which has fallen in recent years. AP has more.

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