I was recently in a flame war over at Kristen McHenry's excellent The Good Typist blog. The issue was over the term "free rider." One person took exception to my statement that there are many more male drug addicts in jail for non-drug crimes because it is more common for women to be free riders. This brought out the usual arguments of domestic abuse and prostitution. I never said that all free riders were male—I didn't even imply it. On the other hand, she did imply that all domestic abusers are male and all prostitutes are female.
A free rider is one member of a couple who does not add significantly to the economics of the couple's drug needs. I'm not suggesting that free riders are not victims. I think that all drug addicts are victims for reasons I have discussed at length elsewhere.
It is hard to be a free rider. In fact, I dare say it is just as hard as not being a free rider. Even when it comes to jail, free riders have the problem of figuring out what to do when their non-free riding partner goes to jail. But there is no doubt that more men do more time—often hard time—than women. That is just a fact, and that is the one part that the government has a direct impact on.