Invisible Targets: Women and Drugs in the Criminal Justice System

Dialogues on Drug Policy, a four-part series of talks return to the New School on Friday, March 1st with Invisible Targets:  Women and Drugs in the Criminal Justice system. The third installment in the series will focus on drug policy and its impact on women by exploring the inequalities women face in the criminal justice system as a result of their involvement in drug-related economies, their drug use, or their dependence to drugs.

Based in New York and open to the public, these talks are a brainstorm between The New School’s Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs and Open Society Foundations’ Global Drug Policy Program. Gathering practitioners from around the globe in one room, a designated OSF moderator asks panelists questions about their work– and ideas— on drug policy reform, what it might look like, the challenges posed by current drug policies and identifying opportunities for policy change.  

The past two events have gathered a dedicated crowd and produced meaningful conversations. Guests have learned about Portugal’s drug policy approach — decriminalization and harm reduction — and international perspectives of both legal and advocacy efforts taking place in Ecuador, Ghana, The United Kingdom, and the United States to reform drug policies in their respective countries.

In honor of International Women’s Day (Friday, March 8th) and, given the current feminist movements such as the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement, Open Society Foundations and The New School have chosen to highlight the group of women who you won’t see widely supported at any protest or trending on social media: women in the war on drugs.

Women are routinely silenced by stigma due to their involvement with drugs. These very same women face some of the harshest sentences for non-violent drug offenses and minor infractions due to current drug policies. What’s at stake for women involved with drugs? With current drug policies, drug use jeopardizes a woman’s liberty and their rights: the right to health and well-being, control over their reproductive rights, and their parental rights.  As a result, women are more likely to hide their involvement with drugs including their use and dependence and avoid seeking treatment and support services.

Join the New School’s Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs and Open Society Foundations’ Global Drug Policy Program on Friday, March 1, 2019 from 4:00-6:00 pm to learn about the inequalities women face in the criminal justice system and what the prosecution of women often overlooks: why women may become involved with drugs in the first place.

Admission is free, seating is limited. You can register here via Eventbrite. Follow @NewSchool_IA and @OpenSociety on Twitter for upcoming information about the event.

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