Mar 5, 2012

Mexican prisons: Forgotten by government and society

CNN Mexico: "The Mexican penitentiary model is obsolete; it fails to punish and deter criminals and also leaves the rehabilitation of prisoners in oblivion, said a panel held by Mexico Voices, a program broadcast by CNN.

"Society has spent 47 years forgetting prisoners, because they are our 'monsters', our forgotten children," said Jose Luis Musi, prison affairs specialist. According to the analyst, the prison crisis is due to the little attention that the three levels of government have given to this issue for several years. He noted that without reform, the prisons will continue to have riots and corruption.

"There is a lot of money for law enforcement: crime prevention, training of federal police, the war on drugs (...) but for this, no one spends money."

Of the 230,943 prisoners that are in the prison system throughout the country, 47,816 are under federal jurisdiction, but only 38% of these are in federal prisons. The remainder live in state prisons, according to the federal Public Security Secretariat (SSP).

For the journalist Nadia Sanders a major problem is that faced by families of prisoners. "Those who visit their realtives are mothers, wives and children. They suffer abuses and violations of their human rights, the environment is negative." She noted that torture and ill-treatment have been documented for years, as well as the impunity that exists within the prisons, "but neither society nor the government pay attention until riots or prison breaks occur."

In February, 44 people were killed and 30 prisoners escaped from the Social Rehabilitation Center (Cereso) in Apodaca, Nuevo Leon. Since the beginning of President Felipe Calderon's term, similar tragedies have occurred  in prisons in the states of Baja California, Tamaulipas, Durango and Chihuahua.

Musi regretted that the legislature does not study the effectiveness of penalties or new strategies to be implemented in rehabilitation centers. ... Musi said that if the prison crisis is not given attention, the problem will become uncontrolable. "Corruption will persist if the prisons directors are not prepared, if they don't think about clear objectives to reintegrate prisoners into society."" Spanish original 

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