According to Penal Reform International, there’s been a 17% increase in women incarcerated globally. Out of the more than 700,000 women jailed currently, it was found that 80% of the women have a mental illness that has only worsened during the pandemic.
Women are mainly being jailed for non-violent and petty crimes, as well as 35% incarcerated for drug-related offenses. The pandemic has only exacerbated the stress, trauma, and mental health of these women, who have been barred from access and visitation with their children and families due to the coronavirus.
UN and human rights activists say the courts should consider the lack of criminal history and caretaking responsibilities when it comes to women. They also highlighted the lack of rehabilitation for women in jail as it harms their opportunities to evolve when they are released.
The Realist Woman’s take:
To be a woman in jail during a pandemic is to go through two traumas at one time. Women are separated from their families and are not able to have their loved ones visit due to the pandemic. This news is alarming for many reasons but the fact that 80% of women jailed currently were found to have a mental illness. This is such an indication of why these women are behind bars. They have real issues that need to be looked at and they need real help. They don’t need their freedom taken away. They need rehabilitation.