America’s Other Family Separation Crisis

The fact that the U.S. has more incarcerated people per capita than any other nation on Earth has become a key political issue.

About eight years, ago that rate finally began to fall—with one exception: women and girls.


The population of women in American state prisons has increased by more than 800% in the past four decades. The number of women in local jails is 14 times higher than it was in the 1970s. Most of these women haven’t been convicted of a crime but are too poor to post bail while awaiting trial. The majority have been charged with low-level, nonviolent offenses, such as drug possession, shoplifting, and parole violations. The result is that more than a quarter of a million children in the U.S. have a mother in jail. How did this national disgrace happen?  And more importantly, what can be done to turn it around?

Nowhere is the problem starker than in Oklahoma, which has the highest rate of women’s incarceration in the nation; 85% of whom are mothers. This New Yorker article is about the efforts of a Tulsa organization called Still She Rises that aids incarcerated mothers in Oklahoma.

Read the full article by Sarah Stillman – The New Yorker:

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