More than 625,000 women and girls are held in prisons around the world. The majority are imprisoned for petty, non-violent offences, and frequently as a result, directly or indirectly, of discrimination and deprivation, often experienced at the hands of their husbands or partners, their family and the community.
This briefing paper outlines the ways in which women and girls face discrimination in criminal justice systems and how their gender specific needs can be addressed. It includes references to relevant international standards, including the 2010 UN Bangkok Rules on the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Sanctions for Women Offenders, and good practice examples from a range of countries.
The paper covers the following issues.
- Gender-specific / status offences
- Disadvantages during penal procedures
- Non-custodial measures
- Vulnerability to sexual abuse
- Imprisonment / Detention
- Girls in prison
A version of this briefing was also produced for parliamentarians attending the Inter-Parliamentary Union in October 2012 and was published in English, French, Spanish and Arabic.
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