So… My wife was out of town Friday night, and I was doing my wonky thing, poking through the Virginia State Police 2017 Crime Report, when I came across a breakdown of criminal offenses by gender. I’ll ignore the VSP’s retrograde oversight in classifying offenders by only two genders — male and female, as if the criminal population were devoid of transgenders — and I’ll focus on the implications of my findings for a recent ACLU of Virginia study, which found that, although 85% of prisoners are male, Virginia prisons still inflict “widespread and discriminatory suffering” upon women.
The problem, you see, is that the number of women in prison has been increasing at a faster rate than that of men. Here’s what the ACLU had to say:
Women composed 15.3% of the average daily population in Virginia’s local and regional jails in 2014, about one percent higher than the percentage of women incarcerated in local jails nationally. This represents a 32% increase between 2010 and 2014—more than double the national increase during the same time period. In contrast, the average number of men inmates only increased about 4% between 2010 and 2014.
As I was poking around the Virginia State Police crime data and recalling this particular piece of ACLU literature, I couldn’t help but notice that women had committed more than 15% of the crimes. Indeed, check the chart above and do the arithmetic yourself. Women committed 29.4% of the crimes in 2017! That hardly looks like a system that inflicts discriminatory suffering upon women.
Admittedly, petty crimes like shoplifting, where women commit a majority of offenses, hardly equate with violent crimes like murder, sexual assault, and aggravated assault, which carry longer prison sentences. Given the male propensity for violent crime, it’s no surprise that more men are locked in the hoosegow than than women.
Still, I knew the way victim-mongering research works. Social justice warriors rummage through the statistics until they find some kind of disparity in the numbers. Voila, instant injustice! So, I decided to check the numbers myself. I plotted the percentage of “violent crimes” — the crimes with longer prison sentences — committed by women between 2000 and 2017. Here are the results:
You can see that the years picked by the ACLU for basis of comparison — 2010 to 2014 — coincided with an eight-year surge in female criminality in Virginia between 2008 and 2016. The reason there was a higher percentage of women in prison, I would suggest, is that there was a higher percentage of women convicted of violent crimes!
Here’s another way of looking at the data:
The number of violent crimes committed by men trended down strongly between 2000 and 2015, while for women, the number remained fairly constant. Those trend-lines explain the disparity.
Bacon’s bottom line: Never take a social-justice study at face value. Always scrutinize the numbers. Always look for missing context. Virginia’s criminal justice system undoubtedly has its flaws, but it is not the engine of discrimination and oppression that social-justice zealots would have you believe.There are currently no comments highlighted.