HomeNewsBriefReport Sheds Light on Troubled Latin American Prisons
BRIEF

Report Sheds Light on Troubled Latin American Prisons

PRISONS / 14 MAY 2012 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

A GlobalPost report sheds light on the crisis in Latin America's prisons, highlighting several alarming trends in prisons throughout the region.

The in-depth series -- which includes stories from five countries, an interactive map on overcrowding and graphics --covers the problem in places like Rio de Janeiro, where space to confine prisoners is so limited that authorities are increasingly using abandoned warehouses and old buses as holding pens.

The news site further highlights overcrowding in Central American prisons, a problem which gained in notoriety after the February prison fire in Honduras. It also highlights the way in which the lack of adequate police control over penitentiaries in Peru, Venezuela and Mexico contributes to violence and corruption.

InSight Crime Analysis

The report comes on the heels of an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) report that documented widespread human rights violations in the region’s prisons. According to the IACHR, much of the problem has its roots in overcrowding, due to a lack of proper infrastructure.

Prison overcrowding in Latin America is largely due to budget restraints and a lack of political will to increase spending on prison facilities. Despite the popularity of so-called “mano dura” (iron fist) crackdowns on crime in the region, there is little support for spending tax money on humane prison conditions. This has resulted in a lack of sufficient guards, leaving many prisons to be run entirely by street gangs who often direct criminal activities on the outside.

Another major contributing factor to overcrowding is the popularity of “pre-trial detention” in Latin American justice systems. As a result, prisoners in Central and South America often find themselves deprived of their liberty for months at a time before they have been formally convicted of a crime.

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.

Tags

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

PRISONS / 3 SEP 2012

A seven episode animated series on Youtube offers an inside look at the violence and intrigue inside a Venezuelan prison.

BRAZIL / 23 JAN 2013

Over 2,400 Brazilian prisoners escaped after being given leave to return home over the Christmas and New Year's Eve period,…

PRISONS / 30 OCT 2015

According to a report, Venezuelan prison authorities failed to notice that 27 inmates escaped in late September, more evidence of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

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…