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Women in Jail, 1989

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 1992
Interviews with a representative sample of inmates in 424 of the nation's 3,316 jails in 1989 gathered information on the characteristics and backgrounds of women held in locally operated jails.

Results revealed that the number of women in local jails increased from 15,769 in 1983 to 37,383 in 1989. Almost half of this increase resulted from more women being held for drug violations. In 1989, more than one in three female inmates were in jail for a drug law offense, up from one in eight in 1983. Among convicted female inmates, nearly two-fifths reported that they had committed their offense under the influence of drugs. In addition, the female inmates were more involved in illegal drugs than were the men. More than half the convicted female inmates had used drugs in the month prior to the current offense, with approximately 40 percent using drugs daily. Furthermore, 57.3 percent of the females and 51.8 percent of the males grew up in homes with one or both parents absent, while the females were at least three times more likely to have been abused before age 18 and five times more likely to have been abused at or after age 18. Tables and description of methodology

Date Published: March 1, 1992