The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas
Reports that an imprisoned Rio de Janeiro kingpin maintained drug trafficking operations in the city's largest pacified slum with the help of corrupt police offer further evidence of trouble brewing for the city's landmark "pacification" program.
In recent months, the São Paulo state government has been attempting an almost Herculean task: limiting the power of Brazil's largest prison gang, the First Capital Command (PCC). But success in the long run will require deep structural reforms in the judicial and penal systems.
Honduras' new government has lauded increased arrests and drug seizures under the new president's hardline security policy, although reports that the country's prisons generate $180 million in illegal annual earnings serve as a reminder of the negative effects filling prisons can have.
Corruption in Guatemala's prisons has created a prison black market where everything from cell phones to prison transfers are for sale, in another sign of the deep rooted institutional weakness rife in the region's prison systems.
On January 4, the capital of Maranhao, Brazil, suffered a wave of coordinated attacks on buses and police stations, ordered by a local prison gang. The death of a 6-year-old girl in the attacks, along with evidence of the execrable conditions within Maranhao's prisons, including a gruesome video of beheaded prisoners, reports of rape of visiting family members, and signs that further inmate violence is imminent, have all drawn international attention.
Ten inmates died and around 40 more were injured during a riot and a fire in a northern Colombia prison, highlighting chronic overcrowding in the country's jails and prompting calls for reform.
In the heart of San Pedro Sula, the most violent city in the world, there is a prison that lives in peace. A 27-year-old thief who decapitated his predecessor governs the prison with the backing of the majority of the inmates, who consider him their benefactor.
Prisons in Latin America have abandoned any notion of rehabilitating inmates, warned the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Torture, highlighting how penitentiary systems fuel insecurity and criminal groups across the region.
A video showing the decapitated bodies of three prisoners in a jail in northeastern Brazil paints a gruesome picture of the country's out-of-control prisons and draws attention to how crime and violence have been migrating to Brazil's historically safer states.
An intelligence investigation has revealed the pricing structure for goods within El Salvador's jails, which are now not only finishing schools for criminals but sources of income for organized crime as in many parts of Latin America.