Appleton Post Crescent
January 15, 2006
Nearly 1,300 female offenders are serving time in Wisconsin's prison system, a number that has increased fivefold in the past 15 years, according to the state Department of Corrections. With nearly 22,000 adults serving prison terms in Wisconsin, women account for 6 percent.
The U.S. Department of Justice says the number of women in prison jumped from about 12,000 in 1980 to about 105,000 in 2004.
Criminologists, sociologists and advocates attribute the burgeoning female inmate population nationwide to the war on drugs and tougher sentencing laws. But the get-tough laws meant to catch kingpins have instead snared thousands of low-level offenders — including women.