HomeNewsBriefIs Honduras Militarizing its Prison System?
BRIEF

Is Honduras Militarizing its Prison System?

HONDURAS / 18 SEP 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Around 300 army reserve soldiers are being trained to serve as prison guards in Honduras, a measure that could improve security, but is unlikely to provide a lasting solution to high levels of overcrowding and violence in the country's penitentiary system.

On September 16, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez inaugurated the first course to train members of the army reserve to serve as prison guards, reported Proceso Digital. According to Colonel Francisco Galvez Granados, the Director of Honduras' Penitentiary Institute, the use of army reserve soldiers as prison guards is aimed at improving security in the country's prisons.

"What has happened in Honduras is that the penitentiary centers have been converted into crime schools and this cannot go on," President Hernandez reportedly told the trainees.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of the Penitentiary Institute has stated that the country's prisons have received 1,500 additional inmates so far in 2014, bringing the total number up to 14,500, reported Tiempo. In a prison system designed for 8,000 inmates, this means the detention centers are at almost double their capacity.

InSight Crime Analysis

Honduras' prison system suffers from high levels of overpopulation and violence, with security often controlled by inmate bosses, known as "bulls," who charge taxes and impose punishments on other prisoners. This dangerous combination of factors has fueled numerous deadly incidents in the past few years, including a 2012 riot in a San Pedro Sula prison that led to the deaths of at least 13 inmates.

Rather than keeping criminals from harming society, Honduras' prisons serve as centers for criminal activity. One prison official estimated earlier this year that the country's prisoners generate around $180 million a year from drug trafficking, extortion, and bank robberies coordinated via cell phones.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

While employing army reserves as prison guards may help wrest control of the country's detention centers from inmates, it will do little to solve the problems that stem from overcrowding. Militarizing the prisons also raises human rights concerns over the potential use of military tactics against inmates.

This is not the first time Honduras has turned to the military to tackle citizen security issues. Last year, Honduras created a military police force in the face of a national security crisis. Following a shootout in August 2013 in a prison outside Tegucigalpa, military personnel were deployed to take control of that prison and detention centers in San Pedro Sula for a 90-day period. 

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

HONDURAS / 14 SEP 2012

The US and Honduras have created a bilateral working group to address impunity in Honduras and to investigate crimes against…

BRAZIL / 23 APR 2020

As the coronavirus crisis exposes the strains on Latin America’s notoriously overcrowded prison system, members of the region’s criminal elite…

HONDURAS / 29 MAY 2017

A new US government report documents a series of missteps related to several deadly anti-drug actions in 2012 involving US…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…