In the early 21st century, the number of women incarcerated in Latin America for drug-related offenses has increased dramatically. Many women are engaging in drug trafficking for different reasons, and in most cases, they play inferior roles in the drug supply chain, working as couriers or carrying drugs inside their bodies, which make them vulnerable to the justice system. This increase in female incarceration is one of the consequences of a repressive and prohibitive framework against the use and trafficking of drugs in the Americas. The "War on Drugs" policy was developed in the 1970s by the U.S. government, almost 50 years ago. This policy spread a regional fight against drug use and trafficking, which was reinforced by the United Nations Conventions on Drugs and committees of the Organization of American States.Even though some international and regional organizations and government institutions have been alarmed by the increase in female incarceration rates, the discussions and documents concerning this issue have some gaps. As analyzed by a feminist and gender literature, stereotypes about femininity persist. The official documents consider women mere victims in the drug world and do not debate their reasons for entering criminality, as an economic necessity, for example. In the same sense, little effort has been made by governments to change the actual repressive anti-drug policy. Focusing just on the lowest level of the drug supply chain, the "War on Drugs" policy continues to drive many people, especially women, younger, and black poor people, to jail.
US Chief Executive Ronald Reagan Declared WAR on drugs in February 1982, and pledged his administration to the task of curtailing the burgeoning drug epidemic in the United States. To accomplish this urgent "national security" objective, the federal government rapidly increased expenditures for narcotics control programs during the ensuing seven years of his two-term presidency, reaching $4.3 billion annually in 1988. Enthusiastically backing the president's initiative, the US Congress approved tougher national drug legislation, widened the US military's involvement in the war, supported the administration's drive to intensify interdiction efforts along US borders, and expanded USdesigned eradication, crop substitution, and law enforcement programs in foreign source and transit countries. First Lady Nancy Reagan launched her "Just Say No" campaign, flooding the American educational system and the public media with anti-drug messages. Ostensibly, all sectors of American society enlisted in the war on drugs and the country began mobilizing for battle.
State of war Sam Quinones -- Mexico's criminal justice system is too weak to stop the drug cartels William Booth -- Mexico's military response to drug violence is not working Nik Steinberg -- Corruption, drug cartels, and the Mexican police Ted Galen Carpenter -- Mexican government's drug strategy violates civil liberties Laura Carlsen -- Mexico's drug war has similarities to the war on terror Mario Loyola -- Central American countries should legalize drugs Jamie Dettmer -- US drug policy needs to change to end Mexico's drug war Jorge Castañeda -- Mexico's drug war: the battle without hope Malcolm Beith -- Mexico drug war: Enrique Pena Nieto could target small gangs Micheal Weissenstein -- Merida initiative is misguided and needs to be recalibrated Manuel Pérez-Rocha
One thing that all parties in the American drug-policy debate agree upon is the desirability of eliminating the traffic in illicit drugs and the esurient criminal syndicates that control it. There are two divergent strategies for achieving this end. The first is the war on drugs. The second, which emerged in the late 1980s as a highly controversial alternative to the drug war, is controlled legalization. What follows is a historically informed critique of both approaches.
Describes the contents of the Bennett report; outlines contrasting approaches to drug control; contrasts each of these in relation to issues of drug policy; illustrates how the Bennett drug program fits into the legalist framework; discusses the implications of adopting a hard-line legalist perspective on the degree of power government exercises. (RSM)