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Women’s Incarceration Related to Low Wages

As women’s gun violence victimization climbs in every major US city, their increased incarceration is overlooked.  We don’t hear reports that include little children’s questions on why mommy is in jail? or when will Mommy come
home?  Or the thousands of children forced into the foster care system.  We focus on headline news that ignores these issues, the real issues.  According to the Sentencing Project, women’s incarceration has risen 700% since 1980 from 26,378 in 1980 to 215,332 in 2014.  Approximately 64-84% of incarcerated mothers had at least one minor child living with them before sentencing.  In 2011 2.7 million children had at least 1 parent in jail.  Racial divisions of these children are obscene with 1 in 9 African-American, 1 in 28 Hispanic and 1 in 57 white children having an incarcerated parent.  Approximately half of these children are below 10 years old. We must protest for changes within our economic society due to the long term negative effects on these children and the future of America.  Our children are the future whether they are your own, kids from down your block or total strangers.  The rise of incarcerated women are jailed for financially driven crimes including but not limited to: theft, drug dealing, nshoplifting, and embezzlement (Wormer). We can change the future by increasing job opportunities and wages.

Gainful Employment

Women’s opportunities may have increased yet wages and upper echelon positions have not.  The stories on women CEOs are a true rarity exaggerated by the media.  According to the US Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau, out of the top 25 jobs that most women are employed more than half are below the median income for all workers. Women are still bound to traditional jobs with almost 4 million women paid at or below the federal poverty level of approximately $437 a week.  These jobs include cashiers, janitors, waiters/waitresses, housekeeping, retail sales and personal care aides.  The majority of these positions held by minority women which is directly correlated to the higher number of poverty induced incarceration crimes.  As people complain that the Fight for $15 is nonsense, by reviewing the relationship between wages and incarceration we can see our future is “poor”.  Each mother that goes to jail leaves behind children that must be cared by tax dollar based programs, rehabilitation services and more.  Pay a woman what she’s worth and save future troubles.

Second Shift Desperation

A woman’s work is never done is an understatement.  Due to low wages women work more than men.  According to the Economic Policy Institute 12% of women work two or more jobs compared to 9.1% of men.  Single mothers which now raise 1 out of every 4 children in America, make poverty level income.  These women are forced into working several jobs as they make less than men.  The stress of working these jobs leads women into tired desperation.   Financial duress leads to crime.  Raise the wage, decrease crime and empower children’s future.

Future Trends

As we watched the Women’s March in awe, many forget that women’s liberation is more rhetoric than reality. Women may have increased their educational status and achieved increased non-traditional employment yet single motherhood and women’s financial crimes have increased. We must continue the Fight for $15, the fight for economic equality and stop the prejudicial view of minority employment.  The working poor are not our enemies, they are our mothers, sisters, nieces, aunts and grandmothers.  End their economic exploitation and in turn
end their incarceration exploitation.

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