HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Extends Tough Prison Restrictions for One Year
BRIEF

El Salvador Extends Tough Prison Restrictions for One Year

EL SALVADOR / 19 MAY 2016 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

El Salvador has extended a state of emergency in seven prisons for one year, subjecting inmates to heightened security restrictions as officials look to disrupt gangs' use of prisons as centers of operations.  

Salvadoran Vice President Óscar Ortiz announced the decision on May 17 during the ground breaking of a new temporary prison for low risk inmates, reported El Mundo. As part of the measures, inmates in the seven designated prisons will remain confined to their cells and will not be allowed visitors.

"We have seven penal centers with restricted visitation and freedom of movement, and where we've cut all internal communications," said Ortiz. "This will continue for a complete year … We cannot facilitate conditions for inmates to continue engaging in criminal activity."

A 15-day state of emergency first declared on March 29 for the seven prisons was extended several times, the most recent being on May 16 for a period of 30 days.

Additionally, El Salvador Security Minister Mauricio Ramírez Landaverde announced a government goal to reduce prison overcrowding by 50 percent. To achieve this, 10,000 low risk inmates will be relocated to temporary detention centers, while another 5,000 will be given conditional or provisional release, according to El Mundo. 

El Salvador's prison system is currently operating at over 300 percent capacity, with over 30,000 inmates in 19 facilities.

InSight Crime Analysis

El Salvador's prisons are important centers of gang activity, allowing members to recruit, coordinate, and continue engaging in criminal behavior. As such, Salvadoran officials' focus on the prison system -- part of a series of recently enacted "extraordinary" security measures -- reflects an attempt to strike at the perceived heart of gang operations.

SEE ALSO: InDepth: Prisons

The crackdown on prisons, however, not only seeks to dismantle criminal structures operating within prisons, but also their networks of facilitators.  

This was illustrated with the recent accusations that 15 police officers from Mejicanos smuggled cell phones and drugs to incarcerated Barrio 18 gang members. Several officers, of whom 11 have been arrested, also apparently passed on information regarding upcoming raids and destroyed police records on gang members.

The discovery of such corrupt networks speaks to the level of control and infiltration gang members have achieved within El Salvador's prison system -- something officials are now struggling to break. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 8 JUL 2016

The former Zetas leader in Piedras Negras, Mexico, went on trial this week in San Antonio, Texas, on a number…

BARRIO 18 / 20 JAN 2021

Though he did not have any apparent health problems, a top MS13 leader was transferred from a prison to…

HUMAN RIGHTS / 16 JAN 2019

Members of Venezuela’s political police detained and later freed the country’s new president of Parliament in an event that resembled…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…