Crossing the Wrong Boundaries: A Review of Jamaican Women's Involvement as Drug Couriers

Marlyn J. Jones, California State University

The literature on women and crime has proliferated within the last decade; however, analyses have ignored women in non-European or North American contexts. Are factors associated with increased number of women offenders in the United States also descriptive of women in locales such as the Caribbean? Are Caribbean women affected by, and incarcerated for the same category of offences as those identified for North American and European women? This exploratory paper reviews statistics from Correctional Services of Jamaica, the Jamaica Constabulary Forces, and newspaper reports. While highlighting another consequence of prohibitionist drug policies, it also fills a gap in the literature respecting women drug couriers in Jamaica. Drawing on the feminization of poverty thesis, it concludes that economics is a primary factor accounting for Jamaican women's representation in crime statistics at home and abroad. The paper further recommends that ethnographic studies be conducted with Jamaican women incarcerated at home and abroad, as well as foreign women incarcerated in Jamaica.

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Updated 05/20/2006