Author: Williams Institute
Published: 9th Feb 2017 - Updated: 28th Feb 2017
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: LGBT Facts and Statistics Publications
Summary: Study reveals sexual minorities incarcerated at disproportionately high rates, and once incarcerated more likely to experience mistreatment, harsh punishment, and sexual victimization.
A new study by scholars at the Williams Institute found that sexual minorities are incarcerated at disproportionately high rates, and once incarcerated they are more likely to experience mistreatment, harsh punishment, and sexual victimization. Approximately 238,000 sexual minorities are incarcerated in the United States. The nationwide incarceration rate of sexual minorities was previously unknown.
"Mass incarceration in the United States cannot be addressed without considering the over incarceration of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people," said Williams Distinguished Senior Scholar Ilan H. Meyer, PhD.
(Article continues below image.)
The new study, Incarceration Rates and Traits of Sexual Minorities in the United States: National Inmate Survey, 2011--2012, is the first to consider incarcerated sexual minority men and women separately. Published in the American Journal of Public Health, it is co-authored by Ilan H. Meyer, PhD, Andrew R. Flores, PhD, Lara Stemple, JD, Adam P. Romero, JD, Bianca D.M. Wilson, PhD, and Jody L. Herman, PhD.
(1) Sexual minorities, defined as people who self-identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) and people who do not identify as LGB but reported a same-sex sexual experience, were disproportionately incarcerated: 9.3 percent of men in prison, 6.2 percent of men in jail, 42.1 percent of women in prison, and 35.7 percent of women in jail were sexual minorities.
(2) Lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals make up about 3.5 percent of the U.S. general population but 5.5 percent of men in prisons are gay or bisexual and 33.3 percent of women in prison are lesbian or bisexual.
(3) Among the approximately 238,000 sexual minorities held in prisons and jails, there are approximately 94,900 gay and bisexual men, 69,600 MSM (men who have sex with men but do not identify as gay/bisexual), 56,400 lesbian and bisexual women, and 17,000 WSW (women who have sex with women but do not identify as lesbian or bisexual).
(Article continues below image.)
(4) This corresponds to an incarceration rate of 1,882 per 100,000 LGB people, or 2,368 per 100,000 gay or bisexual men and 1,399 per 100,000 lesbians or bisexual women. By comparison, the general incarceration rate is 612 per 100,000 U.S. adults over age 18.
(5) Compared with straight inmates, sexual minorities were more likely to have been sexually victimized as children, to have been sexually victimized while incarcerated, to have experienced solitary confinement and other sanctions, and to report current psychological distress.
"I hope this research also raises awareness of the heightened risk that sexual minority populations face for sexual victimization, isolation, disproportionate punishment, and distress," said researcher Dr. Ilan H. Meyer.
"We need to understand more about the pathways that lead to greater incarceration of LGB people and whether biases ingrained in the criminal justice system lead to sexual minorities being treated differently than heterosexuals."
Researchers drew their data from the National Inmate Survey, 2011--2012, a probability sample of inmates in U.S. prisons and jails mandated by the prison rape elimination act of 2003.
|Latest LGBT Facts and Statistics Publications|
The above information is from our reference library of resources relating to LGBT Facts and Statistics that includes:
|Gender-Diverse Youth in Rural Appalachia Exceeds Estimate|
A survey of junior high and high school students in rural Appalachia about gender identity found over 7% shared a gender identity that did not fully align with the sex they were assigned at birth.
Publish Date: 8th Aug 2022 - Updated: 5th Jan 2023
|Pathways Into Poverty for LGBTQ Adults Study|
Report by Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law provides exploration of common pathways into and prolonging poverty among diverse population of low-income LGBTQ people in California.
Publish Date: 30th Sep 2020
|A Summary of Data on LGBT Suicide for Suicide Prevention Month|
Research shows that anti-LGBT discrimination and victimization contribute to an increase in the risk of suicidality and that LGBT people are at disproportionate risk of suicidal ideation, planning, and attempts.
Publish Date: 6th Sep 2020
|U.S. Same-Sex Couple Households - 2005 to 2015 Statistics|
Estimates of same-sex couple households in the American Community Survey including margin of errors for same-sex couple U.S. households.
Publish Date: 15th Feb 2018
1How Many Genders Are There?
Alphabetical list of gender identities.
2Transgender Reporting Guide
How to write about transgender people.
3Glossary of Sexuality Terms
Definitions of sexual terms & acronyms.
4Glossary of Gender Terms
Definitions of gender related terms.
5Am I Gay? Questions to Ask
Think you may be gay or bisexual?
• Submissions: Send us your coming events and LGBTQ related news stories.
• Report Errors: Please report outdated or inaccurate information to us.
• (APA): Williams Institute. (2017, February 9). Incarceration Rate of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual People 3 Times the General Population. SexualDiversity.org. Retrieved December 7, 2023 from www.sexualdiversity.org/edu/stats/696.php
• Permalink: <a href="https://www.sexualdiversity.org/edu/stats/696.php">Incarceration Rate of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual People 3 Times the General Population</a>