Ilac 2020 presentation 17 sep 7am - sabrina mahtani

Gender
Discrimination
Causes and Consequences of Women's
Imprisonment in Sierra Leone
Sabrina Mahtani
Co-Founder, AdvocAid
Research Findings by Isabella Cordua (AdvocAid/
Vance Center)
PATHWAYS TO PRISON:
POVERTY AND
DISCRIMINATORY LAWS
• 34% of women had
been arrested and
detained for survival
economic or petty
crime
• 19% of women either
charged or convicted of
larceny, robbery or
burglary
• Link between crime and
the pressures of
providing for families
• Petty offences are still
criminalized
• Formerly incarcerated
women said domestic
loitering laws used to
criminalize women
suspected of engaging in
sex work
PATHWAYS TO PRISON: GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
• Low mental health awareness
• Unmet needs and prison conditions can trigger/exacerbate
mental health illness
MENTAL HEALTH
AS CAUSE AND
CONSEQUENCE OF WOMEN'S
IMPRISONMENT
CONSEQUENCES OF
DETENTION ON A
WOMAN’S FAMILY
TIES
• Many women in prison
worry about the stigma
post-release
• Families of detained
women also said they
face stigma
• The children often bear
the brunt; some may
leave school
• Many women reported
losing touch with family
and children
• Some said their partners
abandoned their
children and remarried
• Sometimes families and
partners had also sold
the women’s property
Key recommendations:
• Develop gender-specific alternatives to incarceration and community-
based non-custodial measures to reduce consequences of detention
• Decriminalize discriminatory laws
• Abolish mandatory sentencing and develop sentencing guidelines which
fully consider mitigating factors in sentencing
• Invest in legal empowerment services such as paralegals and gender-
responsive training
• Provide women in prison with gender-specific health services
• Increase efforts in post-release support
• Conduct further research on the different and disproportionate impacts
of criminal justice system on women
To Access the Tool Kit:
https://www.unodc.org/docume
nts/justice-and-prison-
reform/20-
01528_Gender_Toolkit_complete
.pdf
To be used in combination with
existing UNODC e-Learning
module on alternatives to
imprisonment for women
https://www.unodc.org/elearnin
g/en/courses/course-
catalogue.html#gender
THANK YOU!
Photo credits: Shantelle Spencer/AdvocAid.
All photos were taken in the Freetown Female
Correctional Centre in 2018.
Infographics: Anna Laura Magyarlaki
Research Findings: Isabella Cordua (AdvocAid/
Vance Center)
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Ilac 2020 presentation 17 sep 7am - sabrina mahtani

  • 1. Gender Discrimination Causes and Consequences of Women's Imprisonment in Sierra Leone Sabrina Mahtani Co-Founder, AdvocAid Research Findings by Isabella Cordua (AdvocAid/ Vance Center)
  • 2. PATHWAYS TO PRISON: POVERTY AND DISCRIMINATORY LAWS • 34% of women had been arrested and detained for survival economic or petty crime • 19% of women either charged or convicted of larceny, robbery or burglary • Link between crime and the pressures of providing for families • Petty offences are still criminalized • Formerly incarcerated women said domestic loitering laws used to criminalize women suspected of engaging in sex work
  • 3. PATHWAYS TO PRISON: GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
  • 4. • Low mental health awareness • Unmet needs and prison conditions can trigger/exacerbate mental health illness MENTAL HEALTH AS CAUSE AND CONSEQUENCE OF WOMEN'S IMPRISONMENT
  • 5. CONSEQUENCES OF DETENTION ON A WOMAN’S FAMILY TIES • Many women in prison worry about the stigma post-release • Families of detained women also said they face stigma • The children often bear the brunt; some may leave school • Many women reported losing touch with family and children • Some said their partners abandoned their children and remarried • Sometimes families and partners had also sold the women’s property
  • 6. Key recommendations: • Develop gender-specific alternatives to incarceration and community- based non-custodial measures to reduce consequences of detention • Decriminalize discriminatory laws • Abolish mandatory sentencing and develop sentencing guidelines which fully consider mitigating factors in sentencing • Invest in legal empowerment services such as paralegals and gender- responsive training • Provide women in prison with gender-specific health services • Increase efforts in post-release support • Conduct further research on the different and disproportionate impacts of criminal justice system on women
  • 7. To Access the Tool Kit: https://www.unodc.org/docume nts/justice-and-prison- reform/20- 01528_Gender_Toolkit_complete .pdf To be used in combination with existing UNODC e-Learning module on alternatives to imprisonment for women https://www.unodc.org/elearnin g/en/courses/course- catalogue.html#gender
  • 8. THANK YOU! Photo credits: Shantelle Spencer/AdvocAid. All photos were taken in the Freetown Female Correctional Centre in 2018. Infographics: Anna Laura Magyarlaki Research Findings: Isabella Cordua (AdvocAid/ Vance Center)