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Female prison population growing extraordinarily fast

People in Iowa may have seen an interesting news article recently about an area of major concern to state public safety and policy. In the past 30 years, the female prison population has virtually exploded, growing some 600% percent during the last three decades. Not only does this pose concerns for these women, who are incarcerated and unable to function as productive members of society, but also for their families and the small children who rely on their mothers for support and a positive upbringing.

The statistics don't lie; in Iowa, there are over 600 female inmates, with an additional 7,000 or more women who are on probation or parole. Across the nation, more than two-thirds of females in prison are mothers of one or more children. Without their mothers, these children are put at a great disadvantage and often become more vulnerable to delinquency and incarceration themselves, thus repeating a vicious cycle of criminality and incarceration.

Rather than spending taxpayer dollars to lock up women for non-violent felonies, community advocates are calling for additional funding for programs that focus on the causes of criminal behavior, including poverty, lack of education, lack of health care and information and mothers faced with the difficulty of raising children in violent neighborhoods. Studies have shown that these programs greatly reduce the likelihood of future criminal convictions for both mothers and children.

Women and mothers who face felony charges in Iowa have so much at stake that they shouldn't leave their freedom in the hands of just anyone. These women should seek the counsel of an experienced Iowa criminal defense attorney, who can help women explore options that might allow them to avoid incarceration and remain with their families.

Source: The Des Moines Register "Iowa leaders echo call to fight female incarceration," MacKenzie Elmer, Dec. 4, 2014

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