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Colombia Police Stations Face Overcrowding and Escape Attempts

An escape attempt by detainees held at a Medellín police station shows that overcrowding in Colombia's prisons has affected smaller law enforcement facilities,...
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Corruption Leaves Ecuador’s Prisoners Facing Precarious Conditions

The intoxication of 204 inmates in a prison in Ecuador is the latest revelation of deep-seated corruption inside the country’s prison system, where surrender of...
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Brazil Prisons Become Battlegrounds for Familia do Norte Civil War

A turf war among the founders of Familia do Norte, northern Brazil’s most powerful crime group, has left dozens of prisoners dead and will have major implications...
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Ecuador Sends in Troops Amid Troubling Prison Gang Violence

Officials in Ecuador have deployed armed forces to various prisons around the country in an effort to improve security within them, underscoring the consequences of...
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General’s Murder Hints at Complete Impunity for Venezuela Megabandas

The recent murders of an air force general and five other security officials in Venezuela, believed to have been carried out by a mega-gang, confirms...
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Prison Mafia in Venezuela is Not Just the ‘Pranes’: Carlos Nieto

Carlos Nieto Palma has witnessed the worst of Venezuela's prison system during the past two decades as a lawyer defending the rights of...
northern triangle map
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Extortion Explainer 1: Evolution of Extortion in the Northern Triangle

The Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are now home to some of the most sophisticated extortion schemes in Latin America. The birth...
Brazil has some of the largest prison populations in the world
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‘Volunteer’ Inmate Program Highlights Brazil Prison Crisis

A so-called voluntary work program in Rio de Janeiro prisons has highlighted long-term problems within Brazil’s crumbling penitentiary system, a breeding ground...
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The Prison Kings of Guatemala

Guatemala’s most dangerous prison has a new king. Howard Wilfredo Barillas Morales, alias “Matazetas,” is the latest convict to control Pavón...
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Belize Prison Offers Softer Touch than Latin American Counterparts

Latin America’s prison system has long had a reputation for being corrupt, often acting as an incubator for organized crime groups and their criminal activities....
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Female Prisoners in Venezuela Become Cell Block Bosses To Survive

A new report about prisons in Venezuela shows how women have begun to assume criminal leadership roles within prisons, adopting positions usually associated with...
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Systemic Colombia Prison Corruption Reaches Top Officials

Two jail directors and 120 workers within Colombia’s national prison system are accused of charging inmates for perks, including better housing, in a case that...