Latin American Women Face Harsh Penalties for Minor Drug Offenses

Between 2006 and 2011, the female prison population almost doubled in Latin America from 40,000 to more than 74,000 inmates. Most incarcerated women are accused of minor drug offenses, –75% -80% in Ecuador, 30 to 60% in Mexico, 64% in Costa Rica, 60% in Brazil and 70% in Argentina– linked to economic survival in contexts marked by abuse and violence.

The International Drug Policy Consortium has published a report [es] written by Corina Giacomello addressing the context in which most women in the region become involved with drug trafficking networks.

The report also highlights that penalties for drug-related activities are disproportionate and suggests policies to find alternatives to imprisonment.

You can listen to an interview [es] with Giacomello on Soundcloud [es].

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.