Gendered Justice: Women in the Criminal Justice System
When considering the prison industrial complex, most people do not consider the impact that feminism has on fixing the issues within it. Intersectionality is an important factor in all social issues. Intersectionality is defined as “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual group, regarded as creating overlapping and independent systems of discrimination or disadvantage” (Merriam-Webster). Intersectional feminism is simply put, the combination of the former term and feminism – when feminist movements become fully inclusive of women of all backgrounds. Often times feminism is used to fight the sexism against middle to high class white women in first world countries, whereas intersectionality adds in all races, socioeconomic backgrounds, religions, and sexualities.
There are many different ways that feminism and its intersectionalities tie into the prison systems. One well known issue is the school to prison pipeline. The majority of what people usually talk about in regards to the school to prison pipeline is how it effects specifically young black men. It is often looked over that many young women of color are also affected negatively by the system. As of 2017 in the United States, there are more than eight times as many women imprisoned as there were in 1980 (ACLU). Three out of four of all incarcerated women are domestic violence survivors. There must be light shed on this in order to make the criminal justice system more helpful for these survivors. The prison system targets and criminalizes women, specifically women of color who are already victims. Because of the idea that black women are angry or aggressive when defending themselves, they are seen as dangerous when a self-defense “”crime” has been committed against an abusive intimate partner. “It’s time for us to also recognize that ending intimate partner violence must include addressing the problems with the criminal justice system.” (Johnson)
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