Authorities in Mexico found drugs, roosters and prostitutes in a Guerrero state prison this week, illustrating the continuing difficulty the government has in maintaining order in its penal system.

EFE Spanish news agency reports that authorities found 19 alleged prostitutes, more than 100 roosters and at least a brick of marijuana when they entered the Las Cruces prison, which is near the embattled city of Acapulco, to transfer some 60 prisoners to another jail. The roosters were used for clandestine cockfighting sessions.

The Mexican government announced it would investigate the matter. Such investigations, however, rarely result in consequences for those involved.

Prison authorities are routinely subverted or coerced into working with prisoners, who often threaten to harm their family members using contacts on the outside.

As InSight Crime has reported, there have also been numerous escapes from Mexico’s prisons.

The system’s collapse has helped create the conditions for a rise in vigilantism in Mexico. Paramilitary groups have emerged in various parts of the country, most notably Veracruz state, where a paramilitary group connected to a drug trafficking organization is blamed for dozens of grisly murders of suspected members of a rival gang.

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Steven Dudley is the co-founder and co-director of InSight Crime and a senior research fellow at American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies in Washington, DC. In 2020, Dudley...