Massachusetts Women’s Justice Network Activities and Advisory Group Members, 2011-2012
Author: Erika Kates, Ph.D.
Year Published: 2012
Criminal justice administrators, local, state and federal policymakers, and justice reform advocates throughout the US are coming to the realization that the current average daily prison population of 2 million is unsustainable, especially with costs approaching $5 billion a year and a continuing recidivism rate of over 40%. Even in countries with far lower incarceration rates than the 750 per 100,000 in the US, policymakers are grappling with high costs and the ineffectiveness of current approaches, and seeking alternatives. Although women are particularly appropriate candidates for alternative approaches (85% of their offenses are nonviolent and related to a cycle of substance abuse, sexual, physical and psychological trauma) they are frequently omitted from these discussions. The MWJN’s goal for 2011-2012 was to raise awareness of women’s circumstances, disseminate information about women-centered approaches, and raise interest in costeffective alternatives to incarceration for women in Massachusetts.