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It's no great surprise that Colombia, infamous for its cocaine trade, has its fair share of dangerous gangs.
When caught, they are locked up in some of the grimmest prisons on earth - and El Buen Pastor women's prison in Bogota is no exception. But it's not all bad news for the inmates. As part of the plan to rehabilitate the prisoners - some of whom were recruited into paramilitary organisations as young as 12 and have never known a normal life - the jail holds an annual beauty contest.

Six-month pregnant mother and wife, given three year prison term by Florida judge contrary to alternative recommendations from prosecution, defense counsel and probation services.
The cruel and unusual sentence imposed by Judge Stacey D. Glick, appointed in January 2009 to the 11th Judicial Circuit of Miami-Dade, will frighten mothers and wives everywhere who possess the instincts to protect their loved ones when perceived danger is evident and shock the consciousness of any advocate struggling for the justice and welfare of children and families.

ST. LOUIS — When judges here sentence convicted criminals, a new and unusual variable is available for them to consider: what a given punishment will cost the State of Missouri.
For someone convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, for instance, a judge might now learn that a three-year prison sentence would run more than $37,000 while probation would cost $6,770. A second-degree robber, a judge could be told, would carry a price tag of less than $9,000 for five years of intensive probation, but more than $50,000 for a comparable prison sentence and parole afterward. The bill for a murderer’s 30-year prison term: $504,690.

Teresa Lewis is due to have her death sentence carried out on 23 September, making her the first woman in Virginia to be executed for nearly a century. Laura Lynn Litchfield Divers, Teresa's prison chaplain, says, "I knew a woman deeply remorseful for her wrong who became an inspiration. To kill her is a crime."

Yolanda Martinez and six others, freed after serving long jail sentences for undergoing abortions in central Mexico this month, have garnered global attention, becoming a fresh flashpoint between conservative authorities and activists. The women, some of whom were in jail for six years, said they had suffered miscarriages. Disagreement over reproductive rights has festered since the Mexican capital legalized first-trimester abortion in 2007, a first in Latin America after Cuba.

Swiss victims of a practice know as "administrative detention" are calling for an official investigation, and possible compensation for those who suffered it. Administrative detention was aimed primarily at young men and women, usually teenagers, who were judged by their parents and communities to be socially difficult.

Seventy percent of women in jail are others, the U.S. Department of Justice reports. Organizations like Aid to Inmate Mothers help provide children of incarcerated mothers with emotional support and interaction with their mothers.

Bringing up children is hard enough without having to do it in the confines of a prison... NOOR TOORANI reports in the first of a three-part series about life behind bars in Bahrain after the GDN was granted an exclusive tour of the country's only women's prison.