Then there’s the feminization of poverty and racial stereotyping. More than one out of three black women jailed did not complete high school, were unemployed, or had incomes below the poverty level at the time of their arrest. More than half of them were single parents.
While black men are typed as violent, drug dealing “gangstas,” black women are typed as sexually loose, conniving, untrustworthy, welfare queens. Many of the mostly middle-class judges and jurors believe that black women offenders are menaces to society too.
The quantum leap in black women behind bars has had devastating impact on families and the quality of life in many poor black communities. Thousands of children of incarcerated women are raised by grandparents, or warehoused in foster homes and institutions. The children are frequently denied visits because the mothers are deemed unfit. This prevents mothers from developing parenting and nurturing skills and deeply disrupts the parent-child bond. Many children of imprisoned women drift into delinquency, gangs and drug use. This perpetuates the vicious cycle of poverty, crime and violence. There are many cases where parents and even grandparents are jailed.”—