The rate of female incarceration is increasing at a faster pace than that of male counterparts. Even though the population of male inmates is generally higher than that of female inmates, recent statistics show more females are being imprisoned than males. Currently, there is a 7% rise in the population of female inmates in the USA. The three main reasons that cause an increased rate of females being put into prisons include; new drug laws, changing sentencing laws, and adaptation of get-tough policies which act against women more than men.
The new drug laws, such as the accomplice and conspiracy laws, extend the liability of the arrested offenders to their wives and relatives, increasing the number of females being taken into prisons. When a man commits a crime, the police investigate and find out that even his wife is responsible for some liabilities created by her husband’s offense; the woman is arrested and charged as being liable for some of the crimes committed by her husband. The new laws have therefore increased the number of women in prisons. Women are more likely to be arrested than men and convicted for non-violent, low-level offenses and incarcerated for low-level crimes such as drug offenses. The females serve longer sentences in prison because sometimes they fail to table a plea that bargains, unlike their male counterparts who may make successful pleas.
The adaptation of mandatory minimum policies has negatively affected females more than males, increasing the number of females being convicted and incarcerated. Traditionally, women could be subjected to lighter jail terms for committing the same offenses as males. In most cases, women would be given small fines and released or jailed with parole for a short time. Currently, the sentencing laws have changed, and both males and females are being charged equally. Mandatory minimum policies have contributed significantly to the increased number of females in prisons.
The current mandatory sentencing policies require both men and women to be subjected to similar punishments for conspiring to commit crimes such as driving the gateway car. The primary purpose of the laws is to bring equity for both males and females, but sometimes the policies work against women. The current rule of law fails to consider some of the factors that make women commit crimes, such as economic dependence, domestic violence, or the fact that the women may have been sexually or physically abused before committing the crimes. The State or the congress legislature enacts the mandatory minimum laws to equally deal with male and female offenders. They provide equal punishment measures for any person found guilty of committing certain crimes without considering the unique circumstances of the offenders or their gender.
Get-tough policies provide harsh law enforcement procedures that include long imprisonment terms for men and females. The policies have been adopted and work against females more than males; the females are forced to stay longer periods in prisons. This has increased the number of females being incarcerated in the contemporary world compared to the traditional times. Nowadays, the criminality of women has also changed. Females are involved in more serious crimes than the traditional times, when they were known for committing less serious offenses. This factor has also contributed to the increased number of females being incarcerated in recent times compared to the traditional times. Women are engaging in robbery, murder, and other serious crimes.