chapter  11
18 Pages

Sentencing and Punishment

ByCassia Spohn, Pauline K. Brennan

In 2008, 106,410 females and 1,434,395 males were incarcerated in state and federal prisons in the United States. Stated another way, there were 14 times as many men as women locked up in US prisons (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2009). There was a similar disproportion in the United Kingdom, where women comprised only 5 percent of the 85,227 persons incarcerated in 2010 (HM Inspectorate of Prisons, 2010), and in Australia, where approximately 8 percent of all prisoners were female (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010). These statistics provide clear evidence of gender disparities in punishment. Women are substantially less likely than men to be sentenced to prison and, among women who are incarcerated, the sentences imposed on female offenders are significantly shorter than those imposed on their male counterparts.