I posted on this earlier, but here are some more statistics from the book, Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics.
“Incarceration rates have increased much faster for women than for men, thanks largely to the war on drugs. In 2001, a woman’s chance of being sent to prison was six times greater than in 1974; for men, the increase was threefold. In 2012, about 7 percent of inmates in state and federal prisons were female, up from just 3 percent in 1970. Women constituted 13 percent of inmates held in local jails, nearly double the proportion held in the mid-1980s.
“After passage of the federal Anti-Drug Abuse Acts of 1986 and 1988, with their stiff punishments for drug crimes, the number of women—especially black women—serving time for drug offenses in federal prisons soared, as did their length of sentence. Tough new drug laws at the state level likewise had a disparate impact on women, especially African-American women. Although the incarceration rate for black women has begun to decline with the recent waning of the war on drugs, it still stands at 333 per 100,000, far exceeding the overall incarceration rates for many other countries.
“In recent years, the number of women imprisoned for violent offenses and property offenses has increased substantially, mostly driven by growth in imprisonment among white and Hispanic women. For example, 80 percent of the women sentenced to prison in Ohio in fiscal 2013 were white, and many of them came from rural counties. Between 2000 and 2009, the incarceration rate increased by nearly half for white women and one-fifth for Latinas, while falling by about 12 percent for black women. The rising rates of contact with the criminal justice system for low-income white women are likely a consequence of the recent sharp deterioration in their health and social conditions.” (p. 122)