Perspectives from Police Bring Understanding and Collaboration

Missouri has the fastest growing rate of female incarceration in the nation. I’m going to quote my friend Laura Toledo, the Executive Director of the Center for Women in Transition; Laura’s summation of this is chilling:

•  In 2016, 75% of female prison admissions in Missouri were for drug treatment programs and violations of probation or parole.

•  Unsurprisingly, many of the probation and parole violations are direct results of substance abuse.

•  Further, drug offenses accounted for 49% of new female prison admissions in Missouri in 2016.

•  We in this field have always been aware that substance abuse is a primary driver of entry into the criminal justice system, and remains a major barrier to successfully exiting that system, especially for women.” And I will add, especially in Missouri.

Those figures are cause for extreme concern. Essentially, right now, of all the women sitting in prison in Missouri this Saturday morning, more than three quarters of them are locked up because their substance-use-related-illness has been criminalized. The criminalization of illness only exacerbates the crisis of mass incarceration. And in Missouri, the disparities affecting women must be remedied.