Some time ago, I read that one out of every 18 African-American women can expect to go to jail at some point in her life. When I read that statistic, I was shocked. However, apparently, no one else was.

Why is that? Why is it that so many Black women-so many Black men, for that matter-end up in prison in such disproportionate numbers without any kind of public outcry? Why is it that 78 percent of the women in New York State’s prisons-and the majority in California and Illinois-are there for drug-related crimes? Why is it that two-thirds of New York State’s female prisoners and 70 percent of California’s are imprisoned for non-violent crimes?

Why is it that 75 percent of New York State’s female prisoners don’t have a high school diploma or a GED, and the majority of Illinois’ read at only a seventh grade level? Why is it that most of the women, in serving their time, have left children behind? Why is such a disgrace permitted to stand?

But perhaps a bigger disgrace is, why don’t more people know? Where are the politicians? The newspapers? The television stations? The bloggers? And of those who do know and could do something about this problem, why don’t they care?

Dr. Catherine Fisher Collins is author of “The Imprisonment of African American Women.”