Study on Women Inmates in Illinois Prisons
Frequently, I have posted on the plight of women offenders. The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, a state agency where I formerly served as Executive Director, continues to fund and conduct research on Illinois female offenders. Recently, ICJIA funded and published a study conducted by researchers of the Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology of Loyola University Chicago.
The study, “An Examination of Admissions, Exits and End-of-the-Year Populations of Adult Female Inmates in the Illinois Department of Corrections, State Fiscal Years 1989-2011” may be found online at https://www.icjia.state.il.us/public/pdf/ResearchReports/Female_Inmate_Report_through_SFY2011_122011.pdf.
Some of the trends found included a dramatic increase in Illinois female prison admissions due primarily for narcotics violations, admissions for primarily lower classes of felony convictions, a rising age of the females admitted to the penitentiary and an increase in proportion of female admissions of those who had been previously sentenced to prison.
The report also highlighted changes in demographics of the women admitted to prison. There was a decrease in Cook County admissions, the proportion of black women sentenced to prison in Illinois decreased while the proportion of white females increased. Women admitted to prison were slightly older than the men admitted during the same time period, had higher levels of education, were more likely to be a parent and were more likely to be sentenced and imprisoned for less serious crimes.
These statistics, especially the ones that indicate that women are more likely to be incarcerated for less serious matters should be taken into account when counsel represent females accused of crimes.