InSight Crime
is about to launch a new website.
We won’t be publishing new content for the next few days.

Prisons

In Mexico: A Kidnapping, a Negotiation, then an 'Escape'

In Mexico: A Kidnapping, a Negotiation, then an 'Escape'

A criminal group in Mexico reportedly kidnapped a prison director and his son to use as a bargaining chip for the release of two of the group's members, a stark demonstration of the control criminal groups wield over the country's prisons.

Tools and Data

More Prisons News

  • Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

    Former Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla -- a decorated war hero and a longtime US ally -- finds himself treading water amidst a flurry of accusations about corruption and his connections to drug traffickers. López Bonilla is not the most well-known suspect in the cases against former Guatemalan officials, but the multiple schemes connected to him represent the apex of the Guatemalan state's spiral towards a mafia state, and the complicated and perhaps ongoing relationship between him and the international community.

  • The Brazilian Prison System: Challenges and Prospects for Reform

    Brazil's prisons are notoriously overcrowded

    The prison population throughout Latin America has been growing steadily for the past few decades. Harsh drug laws and anti-gang policies have led to a massive increase of the number of people incarcerated, leading to overcrowding in underfunded and often neglected penitentiary systems. The majority of prisoners have yet to be tried, and may wait for years for a hearing. In some countries, gangs continue to operate and recruit new members from inside prisons, and gang leaders order extortion and homicides from behind bars.

  • The Unbelievable Hell Inside El Salvador’s Prisons

    El Salvador's prisons are chronically overcrowded

    A plague of fungal skin diseases, untreated deadly infections, constant threats of tuberculosis epidemics, people fed with their own hands, extreme overcrowding and children locked up with their mothers. This is what the human rights observers reported during the first few months of the extraordinary measures implemented across prisons for El Salvador's gang members.

  • Report Slams Colombia's Failure to Control Prison Overcrowding

    Colombia's prisons are at 154% of capacity

    A report by Colombia's Comptroller General details the state's failure to control runaway overcrowding in prisons despite major investments, highlighting the deep-rooted issues that Latin American states consistently fail to address in reforming their crumbling penitentiary systems.

  • Report Highlights Overcrowding, Other Problems in Bolivia Prisons

    Bolivia's prisons are extremely overcrowded

    A new report details some of the problems facing Bolivia's prison system, and examines some of the challenges policy makers have confronted in their efforts to reform it.

  • How Meditation Reduced Violence in a Mexico Prison

    Meditation has helped bring violence levels down among inmates in Mexico's Apodaca prison

    A meditation technique has been praised for pacifying what was once among Mexico's most violent prisons, demonstrating the success of rehabilitation techniques in a region characterized by a lack of state control in its jails.

  • Venezuela Prison Bosses Wield Power Behind Bars and On Streets

    Franklin Paúl Hernández Quezada, alias "Franklyn Masacre," one of Venezuela's "pranes"

    New photos show the privileged lifestyle enjoyed by Venezuela's "pranes," a reminder that these prison bosses have achieved widespread control over the country's failing penitentiary system and are now projecting their power onto the streets. 

  • Surge in Brazil Prison Murders Likely Linked to New Gang War

    Brazil's main gangs are reportedly at war with each other

    Prison murders have surged 60 percent in parts of northern Brazil, a potential sign of the serious repercussions of a new war between the country's two most powerful gangs.

  • El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

    El Salvador's prison system is the headquarters of the country's largest gangs. It is also where one of these gangs, the MS13, is fighting amongst itself for control of the organization.

  • Mexico Officials Stole Millions from Troubled Prison System: Report

    Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong

    More than $2 million were reportedly diverted from Mexico's 2014 federal penitentiary budget by officials who used the money to acquire luxurious vehicles and flights, highlighting how corruption contributes to the problems in Mexico's prison system.