In our September 14 Facebook Live session, Co-director Jeremy McDermott and Senior Investigator Deborah Bonello spoke about InSight Crime’s special investigation of Venezuela’s prison system, the final part of a broader project looking at Latin America’s prison dilemma. 

The last installment of InSight Crime’s six-part investigation, explains how the Venezuelan government attempted to completely overhaul the country’s prison system, which was ruled by gang leaders, or “pranes,” and was debilitated by crumbling infrastructure, severe overcrowding, criminality and corruption.

The report lays out how an inexperienced prison minister instead did the exact opposite, forging a bargain with the most powerful pranes and effectively strengthening their power within prison walls in exchange for ensuring that violence wouldn’t spill outside them.

McDermott and Bonello also discussed how prisons fit into the broader security situation in Venezuela, where penitentiaries have become centers of operation for powerful crime networks that operate both inside and outside of the facilities.

Watch the Facebook Live broadcast for the full conversation: