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Vulnerable prisons

Countless of stories have been told on the lack of order prevailing in many Mexican prisons
File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
23/11/2017
09:05
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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Countless amounts of minutes and pages have the media dedicated to telling the stories happening every day in the prisons of our country. Facts are disheartening: riots, mutinies, escapes, murders, and tales of how criminals take over prisons. All of these cases have something in common: a constant violation of the Law left unpunished.

Today EL UNIVERSAL publishes information on how an inmate broadcasts live transmissions through his Facebook page from a prison in the State of Mexico. Through this social network, he keeps in touch with friends and family, gives people a tour of the facilities of the prison, and introduces us to his cellmates. He has also uploaded 27 photos depicting his life behind bars.

The use of cell phones is forbidden in social rehabilitation centers, to the extent the General Law on the National Public Security System sets forth all prisons in the country must have cell phone signal jammers.

The National Human Rights Commission in Mexico, during their assessment of the current situation of the prison system in the country, has listed the penitentiary centers the staff couldn't have access to given the lack of order and control within their walls.

Their periodic research has also identified the prisons in critical situations, which are mainly those dependent on local institutions. However, we mustn't forget corruption is also present in federal prisons – we have but to remember the two escapes of the infamous leader of the Sinaloa Cartel to prove the claim.

The problem is evident: authorities lack control of the inmate population, due to a lack of training or their collusion with criminal organizations.

Yet where do we start? By ending corruption – the source of all evil. Then, with a detailed evaluation performed by third parties with the involvement of the ordinary citizens and civil society organizations. The Human Rights Commission only reviews a sample of all the prisons in the country, therefore, almost half of them have never been evaluated.

Nevertheless, the main action needed is the commitment of both, federal and local authorities, to restore order and focus once more on the main objective of the prison system: social reintegration. Without this crucial endeavor, we'll just keep writing the same stories.

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