Rates of Women's Incarceration 1910-2014

This graph, published by the Prison Policy Initiative, displays the increased rate of women’s incarceration in the United States between 1910 and 2014. While only five percent of the world’s women live in the United States, nearly thirty percent of the world’s incarcerated women are here (Kajstura and Immarigeon 2015).

The number of incarcerated women is growing at staggering rates. In 1980, about 13,000 women were incarcerated in federal and state prisons combined. In 2010, there were 205,000 women overall in prison or jail (Mauer 2013, p. 9). The female population in American jails, specifically, increased by 48% between 1999 and yearend 2013, while the male population increased by 17% during the same time frame (Minton et al. 2015).

Between 1980 and 2010, the rate of women’s incarceration has grown by 646%, compared to a 419% increase for men (Mauer 2013, p. 9). The Prison Policy Initiative attributes this sudden growth to policy choices made by federal, state, and local officials over the last thirty years.