The use of punishments such as incarceration for those involved in the illicit drug trade has long been relied upon a deterrent. However, it has resulted in the imposition of disproportionate sentencing (including the use of the death penalty) and overcrowded prisons, with high risks to health, social cohesion and human rights. Some countries and jurisdictions are now moving towards decriminalisation, alternatives to prison and the regulation of some markets.
This paper provides the latest available data on women incarcerated for drug offences in Latin America, highlights the key human rights challenges they face in the criminal justice system, and offers policy recommendations.
Penal Reform International, the International Drug Policy Consortium and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network underscore the urgency of criminal justice reform to reduce negative impact of drug control on human rights.