Cause for Alarm

The Incarceration of Women for Drug Offences in Europe and Central Asia, and the need for Legislative and Sentencing Reform
Eka Iakobishvili
Harm Reduction International (HRI)
March 2012

cause-for-alarmThe new report is the first to calculate the total number of females in prisons on drug offences in Europe and Central Asia. It provides an analysis of developments related to women drug offending and the criminal justice system in Europe and Central Asia, and also largely focuses on numbers of women convicted for drug offending (violation of drug laws) that are in prisons.

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The report presents data from fifty-one European and Central Asian countries between August 2011 and February 2012 through government agencies, including national prison services, ministries of justice and drug agencies, as well as academic researchers and civil society organisations. Drug offences include possession, preparation, production, purchase and sale of illicit substances.

In some countries such as Latvia and Tajikistan, more than half of female prisoners are imprisoned for non-violent drug offences. Moreover, in Russia, almost 20,000 women are imprisoned for drugs, which is more than double the amount of women in prison in the countries of the European Union combined.