No country incarcerates more women than the United States. Although American women comprise just five percent of the total global female population, we represent nearly a third of the world’s female prisoners. In addition, the number of girls in youth facilities continues to rise even as male populations shrink, and increasing numbers of girls and women with children enter the civil immigration detention system. However, due to the size and scope of the male prison population in the age of mass incarceration, the unique challenges these women and girls face when they become involved in justice systems are often overlooked. Through the Gender & Justice in America blog series, Vera will explore issues facing justice-involved women and girls in the fields of adult corrections, youth justice, immigration, victimization, substance use, and mental health.


Transgender people at higher risk for justice system involvement

May 10, 2016
By Evan Zavidow

Juhu ThukralWhile recent  police brutality headlines have motivated movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName, activism surrounding transgender people has been pushed to the margins in mainstream media.




The intersection of immigration and criminal justice for women, girls, and transgender people

April 25, 2016
By Juhu Thukral

Juhu ThukralAmericans are currently in a self-reflective mood: Primary voting turnout for the 2016 Presidential election has so far been extremely robust, with no hint of slowing down—a sure sign people are invested in who we are and where we are going as a country. Related to this political interest...




The gendered, multigenerational impact of incarceration on education and the social capital of communities

November 30, 2015
By Chelsea Davis

Chelsea DavisIt’s no coincidence that the number of Americans with college diplomas is the same as those with criminal records—the relationship between a lack of education and criminal justice involvement, especially for girls and women, is bi-directional, complex, and problematic.



Ending the unjust treatment of girls charged with minor offenses

October 26, 2015
By Lindsay Rosenthal

Lindsay RosenthalSince the early 90s, research has shown that girls in the juvenile justice system are more likely than their male peers to be detained for status offenses and minor delinquent behavior. The findings of a recent study provides strong evidence that, despite dramatic reform over the last 15 years, the tendency to lock girls up for less serious offenses, such as running away from home, has not budged.



Who pays in an offender-funded justice system?

October 13, 2015
By Ruth Delaney

A new report from the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Research Action Design lays bare the significant impact that mass male incarceration has on women who remain in the community—a critically important and often overlooked aspect of our current offender-funded justice system.   




Juvenile justice reform is not about boys vs. girls

September 15, 2015
By Lindsay Rosenthal

As systems consider how best to respond to girls’ incarceration, it is important that they recognize that girls’ delinquency is not simply the smaller, pinker version of boys’ delinquency.  




Keeping families whole in German prisons

August 31, 2015
By Laura Macomber

In Germany, it is the norm that incarcerated mothers have the option to serve time with their young children. In the U.S., the vast majority of children born to incarcerated women are separated from their mothers almost immediately after birth. 




Women suffer when drug treatment focuses on men's needs
August 19, 2015
By Chelsea Davis

Drug law reform and efforts to reduce mass incarceration must acknowledge, respect, and respond to women's needs and health. 





Alternatives to incarceration for moms aim to strengthen families
August 10, 2015
By Tess Domb Sadof

Tess Domb SadorAlternatives that value and support convicted mothers is an important step in meeting the immediate and long-term needs of these women and their families.



The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: How sexual violence leads to girls' incarceration
July 9, 2015
By Lindsay Rosenthal

American girls, especially girls of color, are routinely criminalized as a direct result of being victims of child sexual abuse.





Reproductive justice should be included in reform efforts
July 7, 2015
By Chelsea Davis

Despite advances in justice reform, there are increasing efforts to criminalize women who are at risk for negative birth outcomes.



A new blog series

June 19, 2015
By Ruth Delaney and Ryan Shanahan 

This introductory post is the first in the Gender & Justice in America series, and offers a snapshot of the current state of justice systems involvement for women and girls.