Mexican prisons are governed by criminals

Ciudad Juárez has experienced violent incidents after authorities launched a raid at a local prison

Mexican prisons are governed by criminals
The government recently closed the Topo Chico prison, one of the most dangerous and problematic jails in Mexico - Photo: Francisco Robles/AFP
English 20/11/2019 09:39 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:39
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When President Andrés Manuel López Obrador celebrated his first 100 days as President, he chose to carry out a symbolic act by closing the prison located in the Mary Islands, opened in 1906 under Porfirio Díaz's government as an extreme punishment and isolation measure. Finally, a few days ago, the Mexican Senate approved its cancellation. According to several lawmakers, it never really fulfilled its task to reintegrate inmates and at the same time, it represented an excessive expense for the government, despite once being deemed as a model prison.

In contrast, other prisons have been baptized as “crime universities.” They have become places where criminals specialize in certain crimes and learn new ones. Moreover, overcrowding and corruption are two of the biggest and most recurrent problems associated with Mexican prisons, where inmates impose self-government systems or control authorities.

Authorities search for clandestine graves inside former Topo Chico prison

The infamous Topo Chico prison, which was recently closed, along with the Altiplano, Aguaruto, Puente Grande, Reclusorio Norte, Oriente, Sur, and other prisons, are proof of chaotic jails governed by the inmates. Furthermore, authorities often ally with the criminals and sometimes they are threatened.

In recent days, Ciudad Juárez has experienced a series of violent incidents after authorities launched a raid at a local prison. The criminals who control the prison responded by ordering attacks against civilians and police officers throughout the city. The result included 91 deaths, torched vehicles, blockades, and a wave of hysteria and panic sparked by false bomb threats in public places and schools.

Every six years, security problems in prisons are ignored since there is still a pending proposal to solve the serious issues affecting Mexican jails. Despite reforms, name changes, and different uniforms, the situation won't be solved until authorities gain control because any plan to enforce the rule of law won't become a reality without hard work.

Why are Mexican prisons vulnerable?


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