A Highly Disproportionate Number Of Incarcerated Women Are Queer

“The high rate was so shocking, I had to check it three times to make sure we weren’t making any mistakes,” said an author of the study.

A new study published in the America Journal of Public Health, which surveys populations of American women in prison, suggests that queer women have a much higher chance of becoming incarcerated. As of now, about two fifths of women who are currently locked up identify as queer. Similarly, those who are queer are more in danger of being mistreated.

Here's what the study ultimately found: "Sexual minorities (those who self-identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual or report a same-sex sexual experience before arrival at the facility) were disproportionately incarcerated: 9.3% of men in prison, 6.2% of men in jail, 42.1% of women in prison, and 35.7% of women in jail were sexual minorities. The incarceration rate of self-identified lesbian, gay, or bisexual persons was 1882 per 100 000, more than 3 times that of the US adult population. Compared with straight inmates, sexual minorities were more likely to have been sexually victimized as children, to have been sexually victimized while incarcerated, to have experienced solitary confinement and other sanctions, and to report current psychological distress."

The data was coralled from the National Inmate Survey of 2011–2012. The study's authors proclaim 95 percent cofidence in their discoveries.

The study comes to a drastic conclusion: "There is disproportionate incarceration, mistreatment, harsh punishment, and sexual victimization of sexual minority inmates, which calls for special public policy and health interventions."

“The high rate was so shocking, I had to check it three times to make sure we weren’t making any mistakes,” said lead author Ilan Meyer. “We’ve received mixed reactions—some people still don’t believe it. However, there is no reason to suspect it or think there’s an error.”

"Importantly, the data distinguishes between sexual orientation, sexual identity and sexual behavior," Meyer added. "Not everyone who has had a same-sex experience identifies as gay, and we were able to look at several measures."

h/t: Out

[Photo: Getty Images]

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