Women and Incarceration: The Need for an Intersectional Lens in Criminal Legal Reform
The United States incarcerates a larger share of its population than any other country in the world. Although men represent a larger share of the incarcerated population and receive much of the attention in criminal legal reform efforts, the growth in the incarceration rate of women exceeds that of men. Importantly, there are significant disparities in incarceration among women across gender, sexuality, and race/ethnicity. In this talk, Gottlieb begins by arguing that an intersectional lens is necessary for ending the mass incarceration of women. Then, using state level data and quasi-experimental methods, he shows how California’s recent reforms have impacted incarceration rates overall, for men and women, and by race/ethnicity. Gottlieb concludes that data limitations hinder our ability to assess the intersectional impacts of criminal legal reform efforts for women and argues that collecting better data is an important next step for policymakers to take.