Commentary

Review our most recent commentaries and analyses on women, drug policy, and incarceration below.

Trans Women Behind Bars: Strategies for Resistance in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on trans women deprived of liberty has been disproportionate in comparison with other groups, particularly because of the diverse intersectionalities affecting their lives. This piece explores strategies of resistance and policy recommendations discussed by trans women who have been in prison in the workshop “Trans Women Behind Bars: Strategies for Resistance in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic”.

by Teresa García Castro, July 30, 2020

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COVID-19: A Potential Death Sentence for Women Behind Bars in Latin America

As COVID-19 spreads to and within prisons, incarcerated individuals are facing grave and possibly deadly health concerns. The concerns are even more pressing for women, the vast majority of whom are imprisoned for low-level offenses and many of whom are in pretrial detention. This piece offers policy recommendations to reduce the region’s prison population in order to prevent a huge toll in illness and deaths.

by Coletta A. Youngers and Teresa García Castro, April 8, 2020

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Statement at the 44th session of the Human Rights Council

This joint contribution by the International Drug Policy Consortium, Penal Reform International, the Washington Office on Latin America, and the Association for the Prevention of Torture was submitted to the 44th session of the Human Rights Council. The statement calls on the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms to pay greater attention to the harm and violations suffered by women who come into contact with criminal justice systems.

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Submission to the Commission on the Status of Women

This joint contribution by CELS, IDPC, and WOLA was submitted to the sixty fourth session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which marks the twenty fifth anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The paper demonstrates how current drug policies undermine key rights and commitments included in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action’s strategic objectives and offers concrete recommendations to address these damaging inconsistencies.

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Formerly Incarcerated Women in the Americas Connect in First-Ever Regional Workshop

Formerly incarcerated women from eight countries across the Americas are taking steps towards building a regional network to share experiences and push for policy reforms, in the face of a concerning, regionwide increase in incarceration rates that are disproportionately impacting women.

by Teresa García Castro, Aug 22, 2019

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Groundbreaking Regional Report Explores the Impact of Drug Policy on Children of Incarcerated Parents

The first-of-its-kind investigation focuses on a rarely-examined crossroads: the rights of children, drug policy, and incarceration.

by Teresa García Castro, May 15, 2019

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Groundbreaking Report Highlights Dangers of Exporting Drug Courts to Latin America and the Caribbean

This analysis focuses on the impact and challenges of the use of drug courts in the Americas.

by Teresa García Castro, December 10, 2018

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Women deprived of liberty: Joint submission to the OHCHR Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women

The OHCHR Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice launched a call for contributions for their upcoming report on ‘Women deprived of liberty’. This joint contribution by IDPC, WOLA, CELS, Dejusticia and Equis focuses on the disproportionate impacts of overly punitive drug policies on women in Latin America. This paper provides the latest available data on women incarcerated for drug offenses in Latin America, highlights the key human rights challenges they face in the criminal justice system, and offers policy recommendations.

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Submission to the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights’ Report on UNGASS Implementation and Human Rights

This submission was prepared by WOLA, EQUIS: Justicia para las Mujeres (Mexico), IDPC and Dejusticia (Colombia) on behalf of a working group on women, drug policy and incarceration in Latin America, led by the organizations listed above and in collaboration with the OAS Inter-American Commission on Women.

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Additional Resources on Women, Drug Policy, and Incarceration

This list compiles additional resources on the topic of women, drug policy, and incarceration.

Review the Additional Resources