The number of female inmates held in American jails has risen over 20% in the past decade—and it’s an increasingly dangerous experience for women.
Every year, thousands arrive pregnant. Babies, like Shade Swayzer’s, have died after being born behind bars to mothers unattended by jail staff.
A Reuters investigation into 500+ US jails found:
- 914 deaths of female inmates from 2008–2019
- At least 24% of those women were Black
- 70% were awaiting trial and still presumed innocent
“These women are showing up with needs, imminent needs, usually during a period of crisis and with trauma,” said Jessica Stroop, a correctional consultant.