Argentina: Report on Women Prisoners
Monday, May 20, 2013 4:20 PM

According to a new study, women and their families are disproportionally affected by Argentina’s prosecution of low-level drug offenses. The report, entitled “Women in Prison in Argentina: Causes, Conditions, and Consequences,” was authored by Cornell Law School’s Avon Global Center for Women and Justice and International Human Rights Clinic, the University of Chicago Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, and the Public Defender’s Office in Argentina.

The report states that certain policies implemented during the United States “War on Drugs” have contributed to a 200% increase in women inmates in Argentina between 1990 and 2012. Fifty-six percent of women in federal prisons were incarcerated for drug trafficking and over 40% were pretrial detainees being held for drug-related offenses. The study also notes Argentina’s development of gender-specific initiatives such as house arrest programs that keep women prisoners and their children together.
The report contains several recommendations, including reducing drug-trafficking sentences for women at the bottom of the chain, reducing the use and length of pretrial detentions, and ensuring that medical care is provided to women prisoners. The report additionally calls on the United States to reduce sentences for low-level drug crimes and to implement policies similar to Argentina’s gender-specific approach.
Justice Elena Highton de Nolasco, Vice President of the Supreme Court of Argentina, stated that by identifying both effective practices and necessary improvements, “[t]his study reminds us—judges, lawyers, policy makers, and citizens—that we are all accountable for the human rights of women in prison.”
Compiled from: Cornell Law School's Avon Global Center for Women and Justice, "Women in Prison in Argentina: Causes, Conditions, and Consequences,"  (16 May 2013).