Video and Photo Essays

Women Behind Bars: Photo Essays Show Human Cost of Current Drug Policy in the Americas

Across Latin America, the effects of disproportionate punishment for low-level, non-violent drug offenses are particularly severe for women. To shed light on this issue, WOLA has created a series of photo essays to show the human cost of current drug policies in the Americas. From photos taken at the Buen Pastor prison in Bogotá, Colombia and the Buen Pastor prison in San José, Costa Rica, the essays tell the stories of six women, each providing a unique insight into the deeply troubling cycle of poverty, low-level involvement, imprisonment, and recidivism into which women are too often pushed.

View the photo essay and read more at WOLA

The War on Drugs and War on Immigrants are Intertwined

Here's an all too easily forgotten reality: mass incarceration and the U.S. deportation machine are deeply intertwined. And black immigrants get swept up in both systems. A new video from the Black Alliance for Just Immigration spells it out.

Read more at Colorlines

Corina Giacomello, Project on Women, Drug Policies, and Incarceration

In this video, Corina Giacomello explains how drug policies and incarceration affect women in the Americas.

Time To Abandon Coca Fumigation In Colombia

Cultivation of coca, the plant used to make cocaine, has dropped steadily in Colombia since 2007. While the country’s coca plots totaled 167,000 hectares that year (a hectare equals about 2 1/2 acres), by 2012 the U.S. government measured 78,000 hectares. The UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated [PDF] a similarly steep drop over those years, from 99,000 to 48,000 hectares. Colombia has returned to levels of coca-growing measured in the mid–1990s, and is no longer the world’s number one coca-producing country.

Read more at WOLA

English-language version: Mothers and Children Speak Out


Spanish-language version: Las madres e hijos alzan sus voces

Project Prevention: Mothers and Children Speak Out

Project Prevention, originally known as C.R.A.C.K. (Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity) is often described as a program that offers $300 for current and former drug users to get sterilized or to use certain long-acting birth control methods. It was founded by Barbara Harris. 

While some people laud this program, others have also challenged it as a violation of informed consent, exploitative, coercive, racist and a form of eugenic population control. A few have addressed the question of whether the program creates a valid contract under standard contract law principles. Still others have argued that at its core, this program invites people to sell their reproductive capacity, and that like the sale of organs, sex, and children, selling the ability to reproduce should be outlawed as a matter of public policy. 

NAPW's response to Project Prevention focuses more broadly on the question of whether or not people concerned with the problems Project Prevention purports to address --including drug use, pregnancy, child welfare, and public health -- should support it. NAPW's examination of what Project Prevention says and what it does, the data it relies on, the rhetoric it uses, and the influence it is having, makes clear that, far from providing a useful response to problems associated with drug use and pregnancy, Project Prevention instead acts as a dangerous vector for medical misinformation and political propaganda that has significant implications for the rights of all Americans. 

NAPW believes that Project Prevention promotes a vision of pregnant women with health problems as "child abusers," portrays healthy children as damaged, and dangerously fosters stereotypes, prejudice, and medical misinformation. In this video a group of mothers and children respond to some of the issues raised by Project Prevention. As this video reveals and as this article explains (, Project Prevention undermines, rather than promotes, the welfare of children and caring communities.

Marilyn: A Drug Test Cannot Tell If You're A Good Parent

"There is no test that can tell if you're a good parent. A drug test cannot tell if you're a good parent!" Marilyn "lost all hope" when her children were taken away from her. Punitive, intrusive and coercive drug policy hurts rather than helps women and their families. 

About This Photo

Image from the video “Corina Giacomello: Project on Women, Drug Policies and Incarceration," produced by the Washington Office on Latin America.