HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Transfers 1,000 Inmates to Break Up New Gang
BRIEF

El Salvador Transfers 1,000 Inmates to Break Up New Gang

BARRIO 18 / 31 JAN 2012 BY CHRISTOPHER LOOFT EN

Authorities in El Salvador have transferred more than 1,000 inmates in an attempt to stabilize some of the country's violent, overcrowded prisons following the death of nine inmates earlier this month.

La Prensa Grafica reports that authorities moved suspected members of a new prison gang, Mara Desorden, in order to prevent a massive break-out they were planning. According to prison director Douglas Moreno, the group is made up of former members of the country's two biggest gangs -- these are the Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha 13 (MS-13).

El Salvador's minister of justice and public security, David Munguia Payes, said those who were moved may also have been preparing a preemptive strike on another group of prisoners.

InSight Crime Analysis

In an attempt to stem rising violence, El Salvador authorities have taken the "mano dura," or "iron fist," approach to security, which involves mass incarcerations of suspected gang members. This, however, had unintended consequences: gangs have taken advantage of the security offered by prisons to regroup and expand their operations.

If prison authorities are correct in saying that former members of the Barrio 18 and MS-13 have joined together to form a new gang, this would undermine conventional wisdom that the two groups are locked in a vicious war.

With more than 25,000 jammed into the country's facilities, which were designed to hold 8,000, El Salvador's prisons are holding three times their capacity. Transfering inmates between prisons is not likely to improve security in the long term.

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

EL SALVADOR / 13 AUG 2014

El Salvador's attorney general struggled to explain why his country had not brought charges against alleged Salvadoran cartel bosses designated…

CARSI / 4 FEB 2015

The US State Department has allocated most of its $1 billion request for aid to Central America towards development assistance,…

BARRIO 18 / 27 JUL 2016

El Salvador is the most violent peacetime nation in the world, seemingly stuck in a perpetual cycle of gang hostilities…

About InSight Crime

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…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…