The UN reveal that there are now 741,000 women and girls in prison, an increase in more than 100,000 in the past decade. In every region except Europe, the numbers have risen.
“The number of women in prison globally is climbing at an alarming rate – even though they are typically convicted of low-level, nonviolent crime,” said Olivia Rope, executive director of Penal Reform International. “Shocking systemic cases of human rights violations, including violence and mistreatment, persist worldwide,” said Rope. “Many women are deprived of essential health and rehabilitation services and face physical or sexual violence in prison.”
The call to action highlights that many women are imprisoned as a result of discrimination or crimes committed in poverty. Women are also disproportionately affected by punitive drug policies, with 35% in prison for drug-related offences compared with 19% of men.