Resource

Women, Prison and the Drug War (English/Spanish)

While men are more likely to be targeted by drug law enforcement, many of the drug war’s victims are women. Largely as a result of draconian drug laws, women are one of the fast growing segments of the U.S. prison population.

Most women behind bars are mothers, many of them sole caregivers. Women, and particularly women of color, are disproportionately affected by drug law enforcement, by social stigma, by laws that punish those unable or unwilling to inform on others, by regulations that bar people with a drug conviction from obtaining public assistance, and by a drug treatment system designed for men.

Incarcerated women also have lower incomes than their male counterparts, making it more difficult for them to be able to afford cash bail, phone calls from prison, and ancillary services (such as babysitters) which they might require to meet all of their probation requirements.

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