[JURIST] The number of women incarcerated in the United States for periods longer than a year grew 757 percent between 1977 and 2004, with Oklahoma and Mississippi showing the greatest increases, according to a report released Sunday from the Women's Prison Association [advocacy website]. In Oklahoma, 129 women per 100,000 are behind bars and Mississippi has the second highest rate of incarceration at 107 per 100,000 women in the state. The report noted that the increase in incarceration rates for women were most dramatic in the Mountain states, including Colorado, Idaho and Montana, where the number of women in prison increased by 1,600 percent. In contrast, the rate decreased in several northeastern states. In the past five years, the number of women behind bars has dropped over 20 percent in both New York and New Jersey.
The Women's Prison Association says that women are most often jailed on drug crimes but that the proportion of women serving time for violent crimes has decreased. AP has more.