Taking account of mitigating factors in sentencing
(Rule 61, Chapter 1)
In Costa Rica, the law provides for more favourable treatment of women in vulnerable positions. In relation to smuggling drugs into prison (as a visitor) the law considers the following mitigating factors: poverty; being the head of a vulnerable household; being responsible for minors, elderly or disabled persons; and being an elderly woman in vulnerable conditions.
Precedents show that courts have also taken into account violence and coercion experienced by the women being sentenced as mitigating factors. For instance, there have been cases where women have been acquitted of smuggling drugs into prisons where they have been found to have been coerced.
Although Article 77 of the Drug Act establishes these factors only in relation to introducing drugs to prisons, these factors have also been considered in other drug‐related cases to mitigate the sentences of women. There are some other factors such as violence and coercion which can also mitigate the sanction and even result in acquittal.
For more information see:
PRI, Linklaters LLP and IDPC, ‘Sentencing of women convicted of drug-related offences‘, 2020.