Many countries are witnessing a significantly disproportionate rate of increase of women being incarcerated, compared to their male counterparts. Globally, women and girls constitute a minority of the prison population as a whole, and it is estimated that they represent between 2 and 9 per cent of the total population. Throughout the world, women prisoners face similar human rights violations
relating to the causes that led to their imprisonment, the conditions they face in prison and the consequences of their incarceration.
The present report illustrates that there is a strong link between violence against women and women’s incarceration, whether prior to, during or after incarceration. The portrayal of all incarcerated women as victims of violence, or of their lived circumstances, or of women as passive victims of the criminalization system, is not intended or promoted. The report acknowledges that there are women who are incarcerated for committing crimes, without extenuating circumstances linked to prior violence. Nonetheless, the undeniable link between violence and incarceration, and also the continuum of violence during and after incarceration, is a reality for many women globally.
Drawing upon research reports, treaty body findings, as well as the mandate’s country mission reports, the report examines the causes, conditions and consequences of women’s incarceration. Section II considers the different pathways to incarceration. Section III examines the conditions that women experience in custodial settings. Section IV explores the consequences of incarceration for women. Section V provides some conclusions.