• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Women behind bars: Spain tops EU table

Alex Dunham · 28 Apr 2014, 12:47

Published: 28 Apr 2014 12:47 GMT+02:00

Back in 1983, only 480 women were serving time in Spanish prisons.

The figure currently stands at 5,117, twice the rate of neighbouring France.

They still only make up 7. 6 percent of Spain’s total prison population, but female inmate rates across the continent and worldwide are somewhat lower, with 5.3 and 6 percent respectively.

Drugs are the number one cause for their imprisonment, with one in two women serving sentences for minor trafficking crimes.

Many of the women in Spanish prisons are foreigners who worked as drug mules, most of whom were arrested at airports in Spain.

“(Women) are hardly ever behind violent crimes involving unknown victims,” Margarita Aguilera, lawyer for female prisoners body ACOPE, told 20 minutos about the lack of female psychopaths.

“(Violent) crimes perpetrated by women are a result of abuse towards them in their own families.”

In fact, a study by Spain’s social studies institute CIS highlighted that 88 percent of female prisoners have been the victims of sexual abuse.

Spain’s former prisons director, Mercedes Gallizo, named “men and drugs” as the two underlying reasons for female incarceration, the latter often used to ease the pain of their suffering.

There are exceptions however, as in the case of the prostitute who poisoned a client who didn’t pay her or the woman jailed for abandoning her baby in a forest.

Story continues below…

The typical prison profile of female Spanish nationals is that of “a drug addict with numerous repeat offenses”, Aguilera added.

The trend of foreign drug mules arrested in Spain has seen a drop in recent years, the ACOPE lawyer explains, and been replaced by women committing petty crimes as a direct result of their hardship during the country’s economic crisis.

Don't miss stories about Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.  

Alex Dunham (alex.dunham@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Recipe: How to make Spain's summer classic gazpacho
Gazpacho is the perfect lunchtime refresher in the summer heat. Photo: Harlan Harris / Flickr

Chilled, refreshing, and delicious, a bowl of gazpacho is a must during Spain's sizzling summer months.

Model found guilty of murder of Brit millionaire ex-boyfriend
Mayka Kukucova with British businessman Andrew Bush. Photo: Facebook

A Slovakian swimwear model has been found guilty for murdering her British millionaire ex-boyfriend at a court in Malaga.

Spanish bishop demands staff get 'anti-paedo certificate'
Stock photo of priests: AFP

The Bishop of Lleida has requested all staff, including priests and monks, prove they are not paedophiles.

Beach hogger fined in Spain for saving spot with umbrella
Tourists at a Spanish beach. Photo: Jaime Reina/AFP.

Attempting to 'reserve' a spot on the beach of one Costa Blanca resort is being treated very harshly indeed.

Superfast undersea mega-cable to link US and Spain
It will be 16 million times faster than a domestic broadband connection. Photo: Oleg Zaytsev / Flickr

Your internet access is about to get a whole lot faster.

Travel chaos looms as Easyjet workers call strike in Malaga
Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP

Thousands of holidaymakers could be affected by the strike...

Spanish capital gripped by Champions League fever
Real Madrid fans. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP

Madrid's two biggest teams will face off against each other in Saturday's Champions League final.

Colombia blames guerrillas for missing journalists
Demonstrators called for the release of Spanish journalist Salud Hernandez Mora in Bogota this week. Photo: Guillermo Legaria/AFP

The Red Cross has joined the search for three journalists missing in Colombia whose disappearance the government blamed on a leftist rebel group.

'Magical mystery tours' among top Spanish startups to watch
Rome is one of the possible secret destinations. Photo: Moyan Brenn/Flickr

A company that organizes surprise trips for people who don’t find out where they are going until 48 hours before departure could be one of Spain’s most interesting new startups.

Franco finally stripped of mayor title by Catalan town
Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. Photo: AFP

Better late than never...

Lifestyle
Top Ten: Barcelona's coolest rooftop bars
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
National
Plane forced to dodge THREE drones to land in Bilbao
National
Spain launches campaign to stop English 'invasion'
Culture
Ten unique Basque words you need to learn right now
National
'It’s time to dig up Franco' say victims of Spain's dictatorship
Lifestyle
'Severe jellyfish stings' end Brit's Spanish swim feat
Sport
5 reasons why Spanish clubs dominate European football
International
Tesco to bring British tea and biscuits to Spanish stores
Culture
Bucket list: 16 brilliant things to do once in your life in Spain
National
Spain's Civil War victims to be exhumed from Franco's tomb
National
Two mums face jail for leaving kids in car to go out drinking
Education
Students at Spanish college forced to take exorcism class
National
Ten superb reasons why you need to visit San Sebastián
Society
Abused wife saved by hiding SOS note in son's homework
National
Look up! Rare meteor shower set to dazzle skies over Spain
Politics
Why Spain is heading for a Groundhog day election
Travel
Ibiza bans drinking in street… and that includes water
National
Expats didn't 'abandon' UK so ALL Brits should get EU vote
Features
What's on in Spain: May 2016
Travel
Discover Spain's breathtaking national parks
National
Couple caught on camera having sex on metro platform
National
Spain's stunning locations for Game of Thrones Season Six
National
Ten delicious Spanish dishes you must try before you die
3,357
jobs available