In its prisoner census of 1922, the U.S. Census Bureau included women offenders in certain non-governmental institutions. The report explained:
In a number of States particular classes of women offenders are committed by the courts to the custody of certain nongovernmental institutions, in most cases under the control of charitable, welfare, or religious organizations.^
Women in such institutions were not included in other prisoner censuses. Typical names of these institutions were “House of the Good Shepherd” (Boston) and “Asylum of Our Lady of Refuge” (Buffalo). Twenty-four such institutions, spread across ten states, held 1,041 women. About three-quarters of these women were in the institutions located in New York State, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.^ Women in these non-governmental institutions amounted to 12% of the number of women held in government-run penal institutions.
Men prisoners historical have attracted less solicitude from charitable, welfare, and religious organizations. The primary alternative to government-run penal institutions for men has been life-threatening military service.