PRI: In July 2023, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights presented its first-ever report detailing the scale and situation of women deprived of liberty in the Americas. In this blog post, Coletta Youngers considers its findings and their importance for efforts to reduce women’s incarceration across the region. This article was originally published by WOLA (Washington Office on Latin America) on 28 July 2023.
Years in the making, the ground-breaking report on Women Deprived of Liberty in the Americas was launched by the OAS’s Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on 20 July 2023.
Even as the research for the report was underway, women’s incarceration in the region continued to rise. Data provided by the World Female Imprisonment List shows that excluding the United States, an estimated 95,000 women are behind bars in the Americas today, compared to about 38,000 in the year 2000, an increase of more than 150% in little over two decades.
Behind these statistics are the tragic stories of the women who are living in these prisons, in deplorable conditions, while neglected and abused, and isolated from their families.