WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

Advocating for the Rights of Women Incarcerated for Drugs

In international fora, we seek to elevate the voices of incarcerated women and advocate for reform.

26th Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ)
At a side event hosted by IDPC at the 26th Session of the CCPCJ various programs highlighted in the Innovative Approaches were mentioned as positive drug policy and criminal justice reforms.

2017 Meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs
At the 2017 meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs various members of the working group organized a side event titled “Implementing CND Resolution 59/5: Best Practices in Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in Drug Policy”. Ambassador Alicia Buenrostro, Permanent Representative of Mexico, spoke at the event, recommending various reforms that would allow for a gender prospective to be incorporated into drug policy. Click here to read a blog post on the event.

Working Group Submits document on women, drug policy, and incarceration to United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
The working group put together a briefing submission for the upcoming OHCHR report on human rights and the administration of justice. Click here to read the submission.

Guide and Photo Essays Form the Basis for Article on Women, Drug Policy, and Incarceration in Latin America

An article in El País cites the Guide, various photo essays, and an interview with Nischa Pieris, a working group member. The article details the reality of women, drug policy, and incarceration in Latin America. Click here to read the article.

Working Group cited in article and infographic on women and incarceration
The working group was cited in an article presenting a new infographic on the high rates of incarceration for women charged with drug crimes. Click here to read the article and see the infographic.

Guide presented to Uruguayan Government Officials
Working group member Coletta Youngers presented the guide to dozens of Uruguayan officials in Montevideo, focusing on the negative impacts that incarceration has on women who are low level drug offenders. To read two articles on the presentation, click here and here.

Guide presented at international drug policy conference
Working group members mentioned the guide in their panel presentations at Conferencia Drogas, an international drug policy conference. The conference hosted about 500 attendees from all over the Americas.

The guide is presented to public defenders in the Dominican Republic
The working group presented the guide and spoke with public defenders from all over the Dominican Republic. Their presentation stressed the importance of taking into account the situation of women in the penal system. Click here to read notes from the meeting.

Working group member Corina Giocomello discussed the Mexican government’s involvement in the topic of women, drug policy, and incarceration
Working group member Corina Giocomello discusses why the Mexican government should be dedicating time and resources to reforming drug and incarceration policies, particularly with regard to women, in a short video produced by Equis: Justicia para las Mujeres. Click here to view the video.

Oral statement to Human Rights Council on the disproportionate effects of the drug war on women
Working Group members made a joint oral statement on the disproportionate effects of the drug war on women, which has resulted in high incarceration rates and levels of violence, at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council. Click here to read the transcript of the statement.

Guide Presented to Public Officials and Civil Society Members in Ecuador
In an event organized by the Defensoría Pública of Ecuador and FES, a German foundation, Coletta Youngers discussed the negative effects of incarceration on women throughout the Americas. She presented a reform-minded policy guide on women, drug policy, and incarceration, in addition to examining alternatives to incarceration and ways to bring about sentencing reform.

Presentation of the guide at the CIM Assembly of Delegates
Nischa Pieris presented the guide and photo essays at the Inter-American Commission on Women Assembly of Delegates in Lima, Peru to member states and civil society organizations.

Guide presented at CND Side Event
At a side event event hosted at the meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the guide and photo essays were presented by a panel of working group members.   

Working Group presents Guide at the OAS
In an event at the Organization of American States (OAS), the working group presented their new guide for policymakers and highlighted the human face of female incarceration in the Americas.

WOLA & OSF host workshop on the mass incarceration of women in the Americas
In an effort to connect Latin American and U.S. activists on this issue, WOLA & OSF convened a workshop to identify common trends and advocacy strategies.

Advocating for reforms at the Organization of American States
Speaking before the Inter-American Drug Abuse Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States, Coletta Youngers presented a statement on the effects of drug policies and incarceration on women in the Americas.

Project presented before major UN drug policy body
At the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna, working group member Marie Nougier (IDPC) presented on the women and incarceration project. The testimony was a major achievement because despite being the leading drug policy arm of the United Nations, the CND has long insulated itself from the growing rejection of punitive drug policies throughout the world.

United Nations Crime Congress: Addressing the causes, consequences of the over-incarceration of women for drug-related offenses
At the 2015 United Nations Crime Congress in Doha, IDPC presented on the situation of women incarcerated on drug crimes, offering important insights into this oft-overlooked issue to an international audience. To see what they presented, click here.

Project contributes to the 2015 Women and Justice conference
Working Group member Corina Giacomello offered a gendered-focused analysis of women and incarceration, and how the drug trade and drug laws affect women in particular, at the 2015 Conference on Women, Prison, and Gender-Based Violence

Project presented before major UN drug policy body
At the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna, working group member Marie Nougier (IDPC) presented on the women and incarceration project. The testimony was a major achievement because despite being the leading drug policy arm of the United Nations, the CND has long insulated itself from the growing rejection of punitive drug policies throughout the world.