• 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The trend of foreign drug mules arrested in Spain has seen a drop in recent years, the ACOPE lawyer explains, and been replaced by women committing petty crimes as a direct result of their hardship during the country’s economic crisis.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
Spain busts gang trafficking rare falcons for racing in UAE
Photo: Guardia Civil / Ministerio Interior

Spain busts gang trafficking rare falcons for racing in UAE
8 hours ago

The ring smuggled protected birds of prey out of Spain for falcon racing in the Arab states.

Video
Watch: This rare seahorse has just been discovered in Spain
Screenshot from video of seahorse.

Watch: This rare seahorse has just been discovered in Spain
10 hours ago

Do you have a good name for this little sea monster?

Spain reigns as sunseekers shun terrorism-hit Med resorts
Photo: AFP

Spain reigns as sunseekers shun terrorism-hit Med resorts
11 hours ago

Sunseekers are opting for “safer” destinations in Spain after recent terror attacks in other Mediterranean resorts.

Bid launched to rename towns honouring Francoist heroes
The town Águeda del Caudillo in Salamanca uses the term 'caudillo' - a title used for Franco. Photo: El Ayudante/Wikimedia Commons.

Bid launched to rename towns honouring Francoist heroes
14 hours ago

Who would want to live in a town named after a dictator?

Opinion
Six things the USA could learn from Spain
Photo: Patrick McDonald/Flickr

Six things the USA could learn from Spain
15 hours ago

US native, Layla A. Reaves, tells The Local what she thinks her homeland could learn from her adopted country.

Now migrant hides inside car bumper to cross into Spain
Screen shot: Las noticias de actualidad/YouTube

Now migrant hides inside car bumper to cross into Spain
16 hours ago

The desperate man, from Guinea, was discovered tied up inside the bumper in a car crossing from Morocco into Spain.

Puppeteers held for 'glorifying terrorism' freed after outcry
A file photo of puppets. Photo: Leon Neal/AFP

Puppeteers held for 'glorifying terrorism' freed after outcry
17 hours ago

The two puppeteers spent five days in jail in what many see as a blow against freedom of expression.

Victim of mistaken identity walks free after decade in jail
Romano Van der Dussen (L) and Mark Dixie

Victim of mistaken identity walks free after decade in jail
17 hours ago

A Dutchman in jail since 2003 for sexual assualt will walk free after new DNA evidence implicates a notorious British criminal.

US military wife in naked rage after stabbing baby in Spain
Stock photo of baby feet. Photo: Amy the nurse / Flickr

US military wife in naked rage after stabbing baby in Spain
1 day ago

The wife of a US military man was discovered walking naked around the southern town of Utrera shouting "kill, kill, kill" in English.

Globe-trotting gender gap: Spain drops female diplomats
Concepción Figuerola Santos​, Spain's ambassador to Windhoek, Namibia (left) with Namibia's Vice Minister of International Relations. Photo: Spanish Embassy to Namibia.

Globe-trotting gender gap: Spain drops female diplomats
1 day ago

Two-thirds of Spain's women ambassadors were removed from office under the last conservative government.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
National
Ten of Spain's most romantic getaways for Valentine's Day
Sponsored Article
Back to Boho chic: Win your new season wardrobe
Culture
Wacky and whimsical: Spain goes carnival crazy
National
Danger: Early toxic caterpillar plague sweeps across Spain
National
Like father like son: Napkin proves matador paternity suit
National
UK rallies expats in Spain ahead of referendum on Brexit
National
Secret to long life? Spaniard lived to 107 on 'red wine diet'
National
Ten Spanish corruption scandals that will take your breath away
National
Watch: Gravity-defying stunts at Spain's Wind Tunnel Games
National
10 English words you'd never guess were really Spanish
National
Madrid to rename Francoist streets after terrorism victims
National
Olé? Bullfighter takes five-month-old baby into the ring
National
Watch: Moment south Spain struck by 6.3 magnitude quake
Travel
9 charming Spanish towns to visit before the tourists come
National
Heartbroken parents publish suicide note from bullied son
National
Spain launches new reality TV show: 'I want to be a nun'
National
Eleven very good reasons to be happy you live in Spain
National
Loyal dog waits two months at hospital door for dead owner
Younger, scruffier, and with a babe in arms: This is Spain's new elite
National
Ten adrenaline-fuelled adventures for thrill-seekers in Spain
National
Ten things you need to know about the new president of Catalonia
National
Spain's Princess Cristina: From fairy tale life to national 'baddie'
Politics
Seven reasons why forming a new government is mission impossible
2,912
jobs available