HomeNewsBriefNew Prison Data Backs Reform of Honduras Detention Rules
BRIEF

New Prison Data Backs Reform of Honduras Detention Rules

HONDURAS / 11 AUG 2016 BY TRISTAN CLAVEL EN

New data on Honduras' prison population seems to indicate that mandatory pre-trial detention has exacerbated overcrowding in recent years, providing added justification for a recent congressional decision to give judges more leeway when determining incarceration during criminal proceedings.

Figures released August 9 by the National Penitentiary Institute (Instituto Nacional Penitenciario –INP) show that the prison population in Honduras has grown by 30 percent since 2013, increasing from 12,032 to 17,017 inmates, reported La Tribuna.

This significant increase occurred over the three years following implementation of mandatory pre-trial detention for 21 crimes. The detention rule was included in a 2013 reform of article 184 of the Criminal Proceedings Code (Código Proceso Penal).

Mandatory pre-trial detention -- which prohibits judges from choosing alternatives to time behind bars -- had been in effect for crimes such as drug trafficking, extortion and sexual assault, for which a majority of current prisoners are being detained, according to La Tribuna. The law placed individuals awaiting trial for these crimes in preventive custody with no possibility of bail. As a result, more than 8,000 prisoners are currently being held without a conviction.

Other crimes covered by the article 184 reform include the various types of homicide, war crimes, contraband and asset laundering.

InSight Crime Analysis

These new figures come less than a month after the vote by National Congress to ratify a new reform of article 184 which gives judges more leeway during criminal proceedings and allows for substitutive measures for those accused of one of the 21 specified crimes.

The decision is expected to help Honduras reduce prison overcrowding as well as deal with some correlated crime and human rights issues within prison walls. It could also liberate a substantial amount of money currently spent on the detention of individuals awaiting trial, which would be welcomed by a judiciary in dire need of finances and of reform.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Judicial Reform

Reinstating alternative measures is the latest in a series of steps taken by Honduras to tackle the overcrowding issue, with previous measures including building immense prisons and employing military staff to guard them.

However, the measure fails to break with past policy in its single minded focus on the judiciary, rather than a holistic approach that entails comprehensive judicial, social and security measures aimed at treating the roots of crime in the country. Without such a comprehensive approach, it is unlikely that the adopted measures will have a significant long-term impact on stabilizing the prison population in the country.

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

ELITES AND CRIME / 2 JUN 2020

When journalist Nina Lakhani first met Berta Cáceres in 2013 on the eve of the general elections in Honduras, the…

HONDURAS / 15 MAY 2015

Money lenders, identified as "Colombian," are reportedly providing high-interest loans to everyone from butchers to tortilla vendors in Honduras, a practice…

GUATEMALA / 1 JUN 2011

The United Nations expressed concern about the murders of prosecutors in Guatemala and Honduras less than a week apart, in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.