Fighting against the incarceration of pregnant women

The Supreme Federal Tribunal (STF) has authorized house arrest for all (preventively) imprisoned women who are pregnant or who are mothers of children up to 12 years old. This unprecedented decision should positively benefit around 4,000 women included on a list supplied by the National Prison Department (DEPEN).

The Igarapé Institute, which has called for prison reform, including for mothers and pregnant women imprisoned for non-violent crimes, applauds the decision.

The Igarapé Institute has conducted extensive research on the challenges facing incarcerated women. The Institute has also emerged as a relentless advocate for systemic change, including recently in a column for Folha de São Paulo. At least 74% of all 42,000 incarcerated women in Brazil have at least one child.

“The financial and social cost of imprisoning mothers who have committed non-violent, non-threatening crimes is unjustified. Remember: we all pay this bill. Especially our children.”

In 2016, the Institute launched “Direito à defesa e à proporcionalidade,” a report that seeks to empower public defenders involved in drug-related cases. Drug-related crimes are among the most common forms of criminality leading to the incarceration of women in Brazil.

The Institute continues working at the Supreme Court level in Brasilia to encourage widespread drug policy reform.

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