Corrupt, violent and overcrowded: inside Latin America’s prisons

Neil Pyper

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

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Abstract

The recent escape of Mexican drug cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán from a Mexican maximum-security prison was a high profile example of the failings of prison systems throughout Latin America. His escape through a 1.5km tunnel made a mockery of the jail’s security and also raised serious questions about corruption. Seven prison guards were charged with involvement, and the jail’s warden along with other officials were dismissed. Peru’s prison system has also faced international scrutiny, but for other reasons. The conviction of Scottish and Irish teenagers Melissa Reid and Michaella McCollum Connolly last year drew attention to the prison’s poor conditions. The country’s position as a drug trafficking hub means that it holds the largest number of UK prisoners in Latin America, and the largest number of Spanish overseas inmates. These two high profile cases exemplify the failings of Latin American prison systems. But they also reveal some more positive developments they’ve had in recent years. Publisher statement: This article is available under a creative commons Attribution NoDerivatives licence http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/ .
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

This article is available under a creative commons Attribution NoDerivatives licence http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/ .

Keywords

  • prisons
  • Latin America
  • prison overcrowding

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