The number of women in prison is rising. Why?

Professor Valena Beety speaks about how women are punished for mental health and addiction issues, rather than treated.

Between 1980 and 2014, the number of incarcerated women rose more than 700 percent.

This staggering statistic comes from The Sentencing Project, a D.C.-based research and advocacy center.

What's behind the drastic increase? Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve, an assistant professor in Temple University's criminal justice department, and Valena Beety, an associate professor of law at West Virginia University, joined MPR News host Kerri Miller to discuss the factors behind the numbers.

"The increase in convictions for non-violent offenses, it's directly tied to the war on drugs," Beety said. "And we've seen how the war on drugs is not a war on all people who use or sell or are involved with drugs. It's on people of color who use and sell, and people in poverty who do so. We see this disparate impact on women as well."

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