Issue and Impact
The number of women in U.S. state prisons has increased by 834% over the last four decades, more than twice the rate experienced by men.
With community-based solutions, women avoid incarceration. WPA supports women in the community as they address challenges that led to their arrest.
While not humane for anyone, prison policies and interventions are primarily designed for men.
WPA’s programs are gender-responsive and designed to address women’s histories of trauma, mental health needs, parental stress, and other factors that can lead to systems involvement.
80% of women in jail are mothers. Women are more likely to be the primary caregiver of their children before and after incarceration.
WPA’s residential services keep families together, minimizing children’s experiences of trauma, shame, and stigma.
At 75%, women in jail are more likely than men to experience mental health challenges.
WPA connects women to therapy and support groups so they may address untreated mental health challenges, substance use, and trauma.
82% of women in jail are held on non-violent charges and, often, violent charges are not accurate reflections of women’s experiences at the time of arrest.
WPA welcomes any woman seeking new possibilities for herself and her family, regardless of her sex assigned at birth or the nature of her charge.
Incarceration rates for women reflect institutional racism, especially in local jails, where nearly 2/3 of women detained are women of color.
WPA is committed to becoming an antiracist and anti-oppressive organization where all people contribute to systems change and lived experience is valued.
New York State spends a staggering $1.4 billion per year on corrections.
It costs more than $120K a year to send a woman to jail and her children to foster care. It costs less than $20K a year to offer her an alternative to incarceration with WPA.
Women experience lower employment rates than men immediately after incarceration.
WPA partners with women to secure and sustain meaningful employment.
Poverty is the strongest predictor of whether a woman will reenter the criminal legal system.
Women needing emergency support can find food, hygiene items, MetroCards, baby supplies, bill assistance, and shelter at WPA.
86% of women in jail report experiencing sexual violence prior to arrest.