Racism and patriarchy present profound challenges within the Guatemalan prison system. The penal system is a reflection of the discrimination experienced by Indigenous women all over: for being women, Indigenous and poor. In the face of this adversity, the Colectivo Artesana promotes public policies that protect the human rights of Indigenous female prisoners. False accusations, planted evidence, fraudulent use of bank accounts and the absence of translation services during the legal process are among the many recurring irregularities.
The criminal procedure confronted by Reina Meraz, a Bolivian immigrant woman, exposes a double issue of the Argentinian judicial system: the need to train judicial officers in both gender perspective and interculturalism. Reina was subjected to a procedure that neglected her native tongue, Quechua, and was condemned to a life sentence on the back of a defective argumentation that disregarded the dynamics of gender violence. Ultimately, Reina was absolved amid a context of popular and feminist mobilizations, and concerted efforts between State agencies, non-governmental organizations and social movements.*