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Women Prisoners: Theory and Reality in Mexico

Punishment and Incarceration: A Global Perspective

ISBN: 978-1-78350-910-2, eISBN: 978-1-78350-907-2

Publication date: 10 October 2014



This chapter discusses the confinement conditions that women doing time for federal offenses in Mexico nowadays face. This discussion focuses on two conditions: the evolution of theories about feminine criminal behavior; and the effects that policies against drugs, prevailing in Latin America and other world regions, have on this population.


Some 149 out of 300 women doing time in an Island prison in Mexico were interviewed by the author, who tried to understand the conditions that women faced before committing the crime and once they were in prison.


The study shows that policies against drugs have caused severe damage and brought about few, if any, benefits. A cost-benefit approach and more rational policies are suggested.


The chapter will describe relevant punishment conditions, including involuntary or trickery transfer of women to the Island prison; difficulties to communicate with their families and ill-treatments, humiliation, and abuses from personnel and will hear several of their stories.



Azaola, E. (2014), "Women Prisoners: Theory and Reality in Mexico", Punishment and Incarceration: A Global Perspective (Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance, Vol. 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 121-138.



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