Poverty and the prison population
Throughout History, poverty has been an important risk factor for going to prison for minor offences, and even nowadays, it is mostly poor people with a low level of education who fill our prisons, many more men than women. In 1875 a young woman from Segovia was sentenced to four years, two months and one day in Alcalá de Henares prison for domestic theft.
In 2015 the world’s prison population amounted to 10.1 million people, of whom 700,000 were women and, although they are still a minority (15%), their proportion in prison has grown as has the range of their offences. The figure for the prison population in Spain in 2015 was 136 per 100,000 inhabitants, much less than in the USA (698) or the Russian Federation (445).
Las connotations and impacts of the types of exclusion are greater for women because factors such as poverty, unemployment, job insecurity, little institutional support, insufficient income, poor social networks, migratory movements and dysfunctional families affect them more and make them more vulnerable on all fronts, including the risk of committing crimes.