A Few Quick Statistics

| Race, Gender, & incarceration |

Prisons are racist.


About 67% of women in prison in the U.S. are women of color.

In 2004, black women were 4.5 times more likely than white women to be incarcerated. African American women’s incarceration rates for all crimes increased by 800% since 1986, compared to an increase of 400% for women of all races. In Montana, Native Americans are 6% of the population but Native American women constitute approximately 25% of the total female prisoner population. Girls of color who are victims of abuse are disproportionately more likely to be criminalized. (Source)
Very racist.


Among Black transgender people, nearly half (47%) have been incarcerated at some point.

Nearly one in six transgender people (16%) (including 21% of transgender women) have been incarcerated at some point in their lives—far higher than the rate for the general population. (Source)
Prison growth is gender violence.


The number of women serving sentences of more than a year grew by 757% between 1977 and 2004—nearly twice the 388% increase in the male prison population.

Nationally, there are now more than eight times as many women incarcerated in state and federal prisons and local jails as there were in 1980.

| Criminalization of Survival |

Prisons institutionalize sexual violence.


There were over 3,200 transgender people in US prisons in 2011-12. Nearly 40% reported sexual assault or abuse that occurred in 2012 by either another prisoner or staff.

Transgender prisoners were victimized at rates nearly ten times those for prisoners in general (4% in prisons and 3.2% in jails). (Source

71% of those in California women’s prisons report experiencing continual physical abuse by guards or other imprisoned people. (Human Rights Watch).

Between 1,016 and 2,573 complaints of sexual abuse at immigrant detention facilities between May 2014 — when PREA regulations were implemented — and July 2016, a number that is believed to be an underestimation. The report also found that the five immigrant detention facilities with the highest rates of sexual assault complaints are all privately run. (Source)

Prisons institutionalize domestic violence.


As many as 94% of some women’s prison populations have a history of physical or sexual abuse before being incarcerated.

79% of women in federal and state prisons reported physical abuse and over 60% reported past sexual abuse have a history of physical or sexual abuse before being incarcerated. (SourceSource)

Prisons are violence against girls.


84% of girls in juvenile detention have experienced family violence.

Additionally, 31% experience sexual abuse, 41% experience physical abuse, and 39% experience emotional abuse. 40% of girls in juvenile detention identify as lesbian, bisexual, questioning/gender non-conforming, or transgender (LBQ/GNCT), and 85% of LBQ/GNCT girls in juvenile detention are girls of color. A California study found that 38% of LBQ/GNCT girls in detention had been removed from their homes because someone was hurting them, compared with 25% of their peers who do not identify as LBQ/GNCT. (Source)

sexual violence by police & guards is systemic.

In 2002 there were 400 cases of sexual misconduct by police officers and only 25% resulted in any sanction for the officers responsible.

 Nearly nine out of ten respondents to the 2015 US Transgender Survey who reported involvement in the sex trades also reported police harassment, assault, or mistreatment. (Source)

Prison guards accused of sexual misconduct often go unpunished. The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that, of 539 corrections officers and other prison staff implicated in 508 substantiated incidents of sexual misconduct in 2004, only 36% were referred for prosecution, though custodial sexual misconduct is a criminal offense. 55% were discharged, and 9% were disciplined but not discharged. (Source)

Mandatory arrest is racist.


In New York City, 85% of survivors arrested due to mandatory arrest policies had a documented history of prior abuse, and 66% were Black or Latina.

Mandatory arrest is a policy in which police officers are required to arrest a person when responding to a domestic violence call. In Los Angeles and Maryland, the number of women arrested for domestic violence tripled after enactment of mandatory arrest policies. (Source)

As a result of mandatory arrest policies, many girls are arrested for fights in their homes when defending themselves against victimization or as part of a pattern of violence among family members. (Source)

anti-immigrant violence includes sexual violence by law enforcement.


25% of Latinx immigrant trans women surveyed in Los Angeles, the majority of whom were undocumented, reported sexual assault by law enforcement agents.

Immigration detention facilities have been linked to repeated failures to report and respond to sexual assault. LGBT immigrants are 15 times more likely than other detainees to be sexually assaulted in confinement. At least 200 incidents of abuse against LGBT immigrants in detention facilities were recorded between 2008 and 2014. (Source, Source)

| Reproductive Justice |

Prisons are reproductive violence.


70% of people in women’s prisons are mothers.

1.3 million children have mothers who are in jail, prison, or on probation. Not only are the majority of people in women’s prisons mothers when they enter prison, but many of these people are also the primary caretakers of their children at home.

Domestic violence is reproductive violence.

Each year, 324,000 pregnant women are physically or sexually assaulted by an intimate partner.

Pregnancy can be an especially dangerous time for women in abusive relationships, and abuse can often begin or escalate during the pregnancy. Domestic violence accounts for a large portion of maternal mortality. Homicide is the second leading cause of injury related deaths in pregnant and post-partum women in the United States.

Prisons promote medical violence

In 33 states in the U.S. it is legal to shackle a pregnant person while she is giving birth.

 Thirty-one of these states do not require prison employees to check with medical staff before determining whether or not a prisoner should be restrained.