There is a common perception that the criminal behavior of women and the delinquent behavior of girls are not serious problems. Women are more likely to commit minor offenses and have historically constituted a very small proportion of the offender population. But these facts mask a trend that is beginning to attract attention. The dramatic rise in the number of prison and jail inmates is fairly well known; less so is that the ranks of women inmates are increasing much faster than those of their male counterparts. The pace at which women are being con- victed of serious offenses is picking up faster than the pace at which men are convicted.