Between 2000 and 2019, the rate of imprisonment in state and federal prisons declined by 60% for Black women. However, more women in general are in prison than ever before.
This is mostly thanks to more expansive law enforcement efforts, stiffer drug sentencing laws, and post-conviction barriers to reentry.
According to the Sentencing Project, the population of incarcerated females is more than seven times higher than in 1980. Even worse, more than 60% of women in state prisons have a child under the age of 18.
All in all, between 1980 and 2019, the number of incarcerated women in the United States increased by more than 700%, rising from a total of 26,378 in 1980 to 222,455 in 2019.
In addition, there are 1.2 million women under the supervision of the criminal justice system including women who are on parole, on probation, and under arrest.
However, fewer and fewer of these women are African American even though Black girls are still much more likely to be incarcerated than Asian, white, and Hispanic girls.
The drastic reduction has been credited to community programs that are especially designed to help Black women to be successful in business, higher education, and in enrolling in college and pursuing a career.