Doesn’t it seem funny that no matter what the problematic subject seems to be, the solution in America is always education?

The “solution” is no different for the growing number of women landing themselves in prison in the United States. The rising number of females being incarcerated is alarming and the tie that seems to bind them all is education, or lack thereof.

Many women who wind up in jail are desperate individuals who apparently feel they have no other alternative to supporting themselves than by illegal means.

Under-education can leave many without the resources to hold – or even get – a profitable job. According to many studies, at least 70 percent of incarcerated women have children under the age of 18. A lack of education means these women cannot provide for their children in a society acceptable way, so they turn down darker streets to feed their families.

This theory is greatly supported by the fact that a majority of women landing in jail today are headed there on drug charges. Trafficking illegal drugs provides money for these women who can’t find more productive employment because of lack of education.

As drug laws became harsher, and jail time became mandatory for drug offenses, the population of women in jail dramatically increased from about 12,000 in 1977 to about 85,000 in 2001. Women aren’t committing more crimes than before, they are just being punished more harshly for them.

Not all uneducated women placed in desperate situations act in an unlawful way. But statistics demonstrate more often than not that many do.

According to Bureau of Justice Statistics, 11 out of every 1,000 women are likely to be incarcerated at the federal or state level at some point in their lives. Studies also show an 81 percent increase in the number of women under correctional control between 1990 and 2000.

Knowing the positive effects an education can provide and all the negative things it can prevent, ensuring every American a realistic opportunity for an education should be a must among legislators, universities, colleges and all other institutions that value the American Dream.

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