Home

Failed by the system: Sara's story

Sara is one of the women incarcerated at Costa Rica's Buen Pastor prison, for involvement in the drug market. This is her story. (Photo Essay).

WOLA (Washington
13 March 2016
wfd

Sara, 50, fled her family at age 13 to escape sexual abuse at the hands of her uncle. With no education or opportunities, she became drug dependent and worked in the sex trade, and was eventually arrested for selling small quantities of crack to support her own consumption. Out of desperation, she attempted to bribe the police officer arresting her for selling drugs with the equivalent of US$3.75. She is currently serving a combined seven-year plea-bargained sentence for the two offences.

17910214265_2dec88f845_z.jpg
17910765651_7f0cf04269_z.jpg
17883820206_08ab65dd4b_z.jpg
17722615580_4598bdace9_z.jpg
17907172802_2b7783afe7_z.jpg
17287626024_f01fbc780d_z.jpg
17722612260_6cbd378375_z.jpg
17883812346_7e087f88d8_z.jpg
17723950179_6c47817a94_z.jpg

Across Latin America, the effects of disproportionate punishment for low-level, non-violent drug offences are particularly severe for women. For more photo essays from the Washington Office on Latin America, which show the human cost of current drug policies in the Americas, click here.

This photo essay is published as part of an editorial partnership between openDemocracy and CELS, an Argentine human rights organisation with a broad agenda that includes advocating for drug policies respectful of human rights. The partnership coincides with the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs.

Expose the ‘dark money’ bankrolling our politics

US Christian ‘fundamentalists’, some linked to Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, have poured at least $50m of ‘dark money’ into Europe over the past decade – boosting the far right.

That's just the tip of the iceberg: we've got many more leads to chase down. Find out more and support our work here.

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram