Panel Discussion, "Women in Prison: Causes, Conditions, and Consequences Around the World"

There has been an increase in the rate of women’s imprisonment in many countries around the world.  Yet many countries fail to adequately address the unique issues raised when women are deprived of their liberty.  The panelists will discuss the causes of the increase in rates of imprisonment, including the global war on drugs and drug use.  They will also address the conditions of women’s imprisonment, such as lack of gender-specific healthcare, shackling during childbirth, and sexual violence in prisons.   The increase in women's imprisonment impacts children and families.  To address this, some countries such as Argentina have prisons where children up to 4 years old can live with their mothers.  What are the benefits and challenges of this? What are the alternatives to this?  The panel will discuss issues relating to women’s imprisonment from an international and comparative perspective.  What can countries learn from each other’s practices?  To what extent are the Bangkok Rules recently adopted by the UN being implemented in women's prisons around the world?  The findings and recommendations from the human rights clinics' research on Argentina will also be discussed.  

Moderator:  Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences


  • Mikhail Golichenko, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
  • Andrea Huber, Policy Director, Penal Reform International (London)
  • Sital Kalantry, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the International Human Rights Clinic, University of Chicago Law School
  • Silvia Martinez, Director of the Prison Commission of the Public Defender’s Office in Argentina, Argentina,
  • Gail Smith, Founder and Senior Policy Director, Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers

Student speakers:

  • Jullia Park, J.D. Candidate, 2014, University of Chicago Law School
  • Jamie Stinson, J.D. Candidate 2014, Cornell Law School

This event was recorded on May 14, 2013.