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Women and Girls in the Justice System

This section provides the latest information and statistics.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, collects crime and arrest data from more than 18,000 city, county, and state law enforcement agencies. According to Crime in the United States, 2012 (released in November 2013), during 2012:

  • Nationwide, law enforcement made an estimated 12,196,959 arrests (does not include citations for traffic violations).
  • 26.2% of arrests were of females.

According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's (OJJDP's) Juvenile Court Statistics 2010 (released in June 2013):

  • Courts with juvenile jurisdiction handled an estimated 1,368,200 delinquency cases in 2010.
  • Females accounted for 28% of the delinquency caseload in 2010.
  • Overall, the female delinquency caseload grew at an average rate of 2% per year between 1985 and 2010, while the average rate increase was less than 1% per year for males.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) publication, Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear, 2004, which features data collected from National Prisoner Statistics and the Annual Survey of Jails, at midyear 2004:

  • California, Texas, Florida, and the Federal system housed 4 of every 10 female prison inmates.
  • Women accounted for 6.9% of all prison inmates, up from 6.1% at yearend 1995.
  • Black females were 2.5 times more likely than Hispanic females and nearly 4.5 times more likely than white females to be incarcerated in prison or jail.
  • Since 1995, the total number of female State and Federal prison inmates has grown 5% a year, compared to 3.3% average annual growth for male prisoners.

More recent data can be found on the Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear Series page on the BJS site.

According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's 2010 Survey of Youth in Residential Placement, 13% of all youth in residential placement were female. (Juveniles in Residential Placement, 2010, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, June 2013).

The Bureau of Justice Statistics' Annual Probation Survey and the Annual Parole Survey provide counts for the total number of persons supervised in the community on January 1 and December 31, and counts of the number entering and leaving supervision during the year in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Federal system. Survey data for 2004 revealed that:

  • About 1 of every 8 adults on parole (94,400) were women and almost 1 of every 4 adults on probation (957,600) were women.
  • The female parole and probation populations have increased steadily since 1995. The female parole population increased from 10% in 1995 to 12 percent in 2000 and 2004. The female probation population increased from 21% in 1995 to 22% in 2000 and 23% in 2004.

More recent probation/parole data are available on the Probation and Parole Population Series page on the BJS site.