Women and Incarceration: The Need for an Intersectional Lens in Criminal Legal Reform


Thursday, September 30, 2021, 12:00pm


Virtual Event (Registration Required)

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The United States incarcerates a larger share of its population than any other country in the world. Although men represent a larger share of the incarcerated population and receive much of the attention in criminal legal reform efforts, the growth in the incarceration rate of women exceeds that of men. Importantly, there are significant disparities in incarceration among women across gender, sexuality, and race/ethnicity. In this talk, Gottlieb begins by arguing that an intersectional lens is necessary for ending the mass incarceration of women. Then, using state level data and quasi-experimental methods, he shows how California’s recent reforms have impacted incarceration rates overall, for men and women, and by race/ethnicity. Gottlieb concludes that data limitations hinder our ability to assess the intersectional impacts of criminal legal reform efforts for women and argues that collecting better data is an important next step for policymakers to take.

Please note that the event organizers prohibit any attendees, including journalists, from audio/visual recording or distributing parts or all of the event program without prior written authorization.


Aaron Gottlieb, , PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as a faculty affiliate of the Jane Addams Center for Social Policy and Research. His research is motivated by the idea that our criminal legal system is far too punitive. As such, his scholarship examines the causes and consequences of criminal legal involvement, as well as the impact of policy and practice changes that would reduce the punitiveness of the criminal legal system. In addition to being published in a wide range of academic journals, Aaron’s research has been cited in a number of media outlets, including the New York Times and the Atlantic. In the community, Aaron is active in working towards police accountability through his work on Chicago’s Police Use of Force Work Group and the Empowering Communities for Public Safety Ordinance.

See also: Seminar Series