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Prisons: A national mirror

As long as there is no in-depth transformation in those who run the penitentiary facilities, the situation of ungovernability that many of them experience will not change
File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
26/06/2017
10:00
Mexico City
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Much has been written and talked about the inequality that prevails in Mexico, a theme in which social, economic and developmental differences between the different regions stand out. To this, now we can add the division that exists in the management of prisons by states.

The most recent diagnosis by the National Commission on Human Rights on the situation in the different prisons reinforces the existence of a country that is advancing at two rates, while the Saltillo Women's Penitentiary Center and the Social Rehabilitation Center (Cereso) of San Miguel de Allende obtained scores of 8.57 and 8.53, respectively, the Cereso of Chilpancingo barely reached 3.91 points in its evaluation, on a scale of 0 to 10.

Only one state was rated above 8 and only seven entities achieved more than 7; In contrast, 11 states had a failing grade.

Although there have been several acts of violence in the prisons of Nuevo León and Tamaulipas, in more than half of the prisons checked (131 out of 298 in the country), areas of privilege were observed and the presence of prohibited objects and substances.

As long as there is no in-depth transformation in those who run the penitentiary facilities, the situation of ungovernability that many of them experience will not change. The objective of social reintegration they pursue will continue to be a deception, confirmed by reality.

Some of the causes of the disparate performance of one or another social rehabilitation center can be found in the following numbers: there are states that did not exercise the total of their resources assigned to prison care, despite having problems in their Ceresos. Nuevo León had 64 million pesos and left 50.6 million unexercised; Tamaulipas, with 13.1 million pesos, did not exercise 5.1 million, according to official data.

That may be one of the reasons that explain many of the problems in the country. The resources tagged for specific programs are not exercised in the assigned area but in others where there is often a political interest or, in the worst case, are diverted into the pockets of officials.

Much of Mexico's uneven development will decline as the use of public spending is fully transparent at all levels of the government. But, above all, when the misuse of resources is effectively penalized.

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