Drugs and Prisons in Uruguay

The Case of Alicia Castilla

In Uruguay, the consumption of drugs, including marijuana, is not punishable with prison time. Even so, the cultivation of marijuana for personal consumption is a crime.

When she was 66 years old, Alicia Castilla was put in jail for three months for cultivating marijuana, which she used to help her sleep better. In this video testimony, she talks about the suffering caused by her imprisonment in Canelones (an Uruguayan prison) and her experience with the justice system in Uruguay.

According to statistics from the Uruguayan National Drug Board, 79 percent of the police operations between 2006 and 2009 related to marijuana involved quantities of less than 100 grams. In order to avoid cases similar to that of Alicia and to focus police resources on more serious cases, Uruguay is debating the creation of regulated markets for marijuana.