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Oklahoma Among States Setting Pace In Imprisoning More Women

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Oklahoma, Mississippi and the Mountain states have set the pace in increasing the imprisonment of women. That's according to a new report detailing sharp regional differences in the handling of female offenders.

The report is being released today by the New York-based Women's Prison Association and is touted as the most comprehensive state-by-state breakdown of the huge increase in incarceration of women over the past 30 years.

Overall, the number of female state inmates serving sentences of more than a year grew by 757 percent between 1977 and 2004. That's nearly twice the 388 percent increase for men, the report says.

Idaho, Wyoming and Montana were among six states, along with Oklahoma, North Dakota and Hawaii, where women comprised more than 10 percent of the prison population in 2004. That's compared to the national average of 7 percent.

Oklahoma had the highest per capita imprisonment rate for women with 129 behind bars for every 100,000 women in its population. Mississippi was second with a rate of 107.
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