In the past few decades there has been heightened interest in and scholarship in incarceration and the incarcerated population in the United States. However, much of this research has surrounded male incarceration rates, often overlooking the growing number of incarcerated women. While male incarceration rates have steadily declined in the past decade with the help of public scrutiny, women have become the fastest-growing incarcerated population. Between 1980 and 2017, the population of incarcerated women has risen by 750% (The Sentencing Project, 2019). Along with the rapid growth, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women face unique challenges in re-entering society and regaining voting rights all of which impact their political representation. To learn more about incarcerated women and political representation read our 2020 brief below.
Incarceration impacts political representation by: