HomeNewsBriefUruguay Considers Deporting Foreign Prisoners
BRIEF

Uruguay Considers Deporting Foreign Prisoners

INFOGRAPHICS / 13 SEP 2013 BY CHARLES PARKINSON EN

Uruguay is considering deporting foreign criminals back to their homeland, a move which could unclog the prison system and help prevent organized crime from taking hold in the country, or it could backfire and cause havoc both inside and outside jails.

The news follows controversy in Uruguay over the release by Argentina of high profile Uruguayan bank robber and jewel thief Luis Mario Vitette, who was released and sent back to his home country after less than eight years of a 21 year sentence, reported El Observador.

The move led Uruguayan Interior Minister Eduardo Bonomi to express concern about Argentina's practice of freeing and deporting foreign criminals upon completion of half their jail term.

According to El Observador, Uruguay's Deputy Interior Minister Jorge Vasquez considered emulating Argentina's policy. But Bonomi made it clear at a press conference on September 11 that criminals deported from Uruguay should complete their sentences in their country of origin.

The number of Uruguayans imprisoned overseas -- including 600 in Argentina -- is more than triple the foreign prisoner population in Uruguay. Almost half of Uruguay's foreign prisoner population is linked to drug trafficking, according to El Observador.

In the past two years, Argentina has freed and deported 150 Uruguayans, reported El Pais.

UruguayMap

InSight Crime Analysis

While the issue of prisoner deportations appears to have hit the agenda in Uruguay because of indignation over the case of Vitette, it could also serve as a way of unclogging Uruguay's jail systems.

Another possible effect of such a move would be the prevention of organized crime infiltration into Uruguay, one of the countries least tainted by criminal groups in the region, as organized crime often migrates through the prison system

In Venezuela, Brazil and parts of Central America prisons have been a breeding ground for gangs and criminal groups, and in each of those countries gangs all but run the penitentiary system.

SEE ALSO: A Look Inside El Salvador's Prison Nightmare

However, given the uneven balance of Uruguayans imprisoned abroad compared to the foreign prisoner population at home, any move to start deporting prisoners could cause chaos in Uruguay if the countries receiving prisoners follow suit. Not only would Uruguay likely receive many more prisoners than it deported, but those prisoners would come from countries where organized crime is much more deeply ingrained. This could result in criminality being imported, as was seen among Central America's "mara" gangs, which originated in the US penal system.  

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

PRISONS / 2 DEC 2014

The sketchy details of an alleged drug overdose by dozens of inmates in a Venezuelan prison has put the spotlight…

CONTRABAND / 14 DEC 2020

An ongoing gang war in Ecuador’s prisons has made 2020 the bloodiest year on record for inmates, underscoring how the…

COLOMBIA / 8 MAR 2017

Colombia's Defense Minister has declared that the state has "already won" the battle to occupy the territories being left behind…

About InSight Crime

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.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…