Mexico: Crime Gangs Control 65% of State Prisons

Mexico News Daily, May 25, 2017

A new study has found that at least 65% of Mexico’s 291 state prisons are controlled by criminal organizations.

The Chamber of Deputies-sponsored probe also discovered that there are three quarrels, two cases of aggression and one murder every day in the gang-controlled institutions.

The lower chamber’s social studies and public opinion center also found that 51% of all the jails in Mexico are overcrowded, especially those in the states of México, Mexico City, Jalisco and Puebla.

The center’s report included data collected through evaluations by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH).

In the last evaluation, conducted in 2015, the national average for state-run facilities was 6.21 out of 10. For federal prisons it was 7.36.

Overall, military prisons ranked highest across the board.

The Chamber of Deputies’ analysis also took into consideration several structural problems identified in a study presented last month that looked at who controls the prisons.

Those problems included “overpopulation and a disproportionate use of preventive prison, shameful and sometimes inhumane conditions, poor training and deplorable work conditions for prison staff, and social and governmental indifference.”

Worst of all, the report said, “65% of state-run prisons are under control of criminal groups.”

Despite the problem of overcrowding in the Mexican penitentiary system, the total number of facilities has actually shrunk since the year 2000, from 444 to 379.

The Chamber of Deputies’ analysis concluded with the blunt assertion that jails in Mexico do not serve their purpose of social reintegration and rehabilitation, but instead “they ruin lives.”

With an inmate population of just over 233,469 men and women, Mexico ranks seventh worldwide for the number of people held behind bars, behind the United States, China, Brazil, Russia, India and Thailand.

Fully 40% of individuals currently in jail in Mexico have not even been sentenced. They are being held awaiting trial.

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