HomeNewsBriefExtortion of Mexico Inmates' Families Underscores Corruption
BRIEF

Extortion of Mexico Inmates' Families Underscores Corruption

EXTORTION / 18 NOV 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Authorities are investigating complaints by family members of prisoners in Chihuahua, Mexico that they have been forced to pay extortion fees in order to get visitation rights, highlighting the rampant corruption in the country's prisons.

Family members of prisoners at the State Social Rehabilitation Center 3 (Cereso Estatal 3) in Juarez have said they have to pay up to $150 per month for the right to visit their jailed relatives, and to prevent the prisoner from being subjected to punishments, including strenuous physical activity, beatings and solitary confinement, reported El Diario de Juarez.

They also claimed that prison guards organize "parties" in which prisoners are forced to pay $37 to watch naked women dance, some of whom are female inmates (a plate of meat and two beers are included). If they cannot pay within two days, another $23 interest is added; further punishment comes to those who take longer.

Jorge Chairez Daniel, the spokesman for the state's prison system, said he has not received any formal complaints but acknowledged the difficulty of monitoring the 500 guards working at the facility. The Juarez Attorney General's Office will begin investigations into the complaints, reported El Diario de Juarez.

InSight Crime Analysis

The case highlights the dire nature of Mexico's prisons, and the corruption that allows these poor conditions to flourish. The country's severely overcrowded prison system is rife with abuses, including the denial of the right to a fair trial, cases of torture and beatings, and the inability or desire to prevent violent uprisings. Prison guards were also accused of involvement in a major Zetas prison break in Nuevo Leon in 2012, one of many instances of corruption and collusion.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Prisons

While human rights violations are rampant, the Cereso case is interesting because it involves extortion by prison guards and the targeting of family members. Extortion is a word commonly associated with Latin American prisons in general, but it is usually the prisoners themselves involved in the act. Powerful inmates who effectively run prisons in Mexico, Venezuela and Honduras force their fellow prisoners to pay taxes in exchange for a range of services. Prisoners in the region also run extortion schemes outside of jails, using cell phones to exact fees with the help of accomplices on the exterior.

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

LA FAMILIA MICHOACANA / 19 OCT 2012

A second vigilante force has announced its arrival in a rural region of Michoacan, south Mexico, pointing to the government's…

MEXICO / 2 JUN 2014

Authorities in the United States have alerted banks to the use of "funnel accounts" in trade-based money laundering, the latest…

ILLEGAL MINING / 2 MAY 2014

Authorities in Mexico have intercepted a ship carrying almost 76,000 tons of iron ore likely linked to the Knights Templar,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…