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 / 11 JAN 2012

The taking of at least eight police hostage in a jail in western Venezuela is the sixth incident in which…

BRAZIL / 20 FEB 2021

Drug traffickers engage in a creative game of hide and seek with coast guards and other security forces that board…

MEXICO / 11 OCT 2017

At least 13 people have died in a prison mutiny in north Mexico that some witnesses claim was a backlash…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…