Venezuela has implemented new regulations in 14 of the country's prisons in an attempt to reform the notoriously violent penal system, although it remains to be seen whether the measures will be enforced effectively.
El Salvador's Cojutepeque jail is a perfect illustration of how prisons in this country have become the main breeding and training grounds for street gangs.
A Venezuelan prison marked the opening of a nightclub for inmates with an inauguration party complete with strippers and DJs, as part of an unconventional scheme to reduce prison violence.
The United Nations has criticized the "excessive use of detentions" in Brazil, feeding the problems faced by the country's struggling penitentiary system.
Guatemala's Minister of Government admitted that an elite group of prisoners are enjoying privileges in Guatemalan jails, another example of the region's dysfunctional penal system.
The governor of the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina has called for reinforcements from the federal emergency police force FNS to deal with escalating violence linked to organized crime, just one week after rejecting the idea.
Authorities have seized over 100 firearms, as well as ammunition and drugs, from the Venezuelan prison where dozens recently died in a riot, yet another indication of the total lack of state control over the country's infamously violent prison system.
Sixty one prisoners have been killed and up to 120 wounded during a riot at Uribana jail in the western Venezuelan city of Barquisimeto, cementing Venezuela's reputation of having the most dangerous prison system in the world.
Over 2,400 Brazilian prisoners escaped after being given leave to return home over the Christmas and New Year's Eve period, in another indictment of Brazil’s malfunctioning penal system.
608 inmates are set to be transferred to Brazil's first public-private prison, jointly run by the state and a business consortium, one of the steps the government is taking to reform its troubled penitentiary system, traditionally home to organized crime.