Loretta Lynch leads national effort to address gender disparities in criminal justice

July 10, 2024 Robert Abruzzese, Courthouse Editor
Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, chair of the Women’s Justice Commission, leads a new initiative to address gender disparities in the criminal justice system. AP Photo by Carolyn Kaster
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Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has been appointed on Tuesday to chair the newly formed Women’s Justice Commission, an initiative by the Council on Criminal Justice aimed at addressing the unique challenges faced by women in the criminal justice system.

Lynch, who previously served as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, is joined by 15 other leaders from various sectors, including law enforcement, legislation, courts, corrections, medicine, research, and advocacy. The Commission’s inaugural meeting takes place Tuesday in New York City and includes a visit to a Brooklyn program for justice-involved women.

“The unique challenges faced by women moving through our criminal justice system all too often go unseen and unheard,” Lynch stated. “We can and must do better to reduce the flow of women into the justice system, help them maintain relationships with children and families during incarceration, and provide the support they need to thrive after release.”

The group said the formation of the Women’s Justice Commission comes in response to troubling trends — women now account for more than a quarter of adult arrests and are increasingly victims of violent crime. The incarceration rate for women has also risen sharply, even as the rate for men has declined.

The commission released two comprehensive reports in conjunction with Tuesday’s meeting: “Women’s Justice: A Preliminary Assessment of Women in the Criminal Justice System” and “Women’s Justice: By the Numbers.” These reports show an increase in women’s arrests for violent and drug-related crimes and explain that the significant proportion of incarcerated women are primary caretakers of minor children.

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