Mexico's out-of-control prisons
Posted: 16 Oct 2011 06:59 AM PDT
A prison riot in Matamoros left 20 inmates dead yesterday, the latest incident to show how little control authorities exercise in most prisons.
A detailed anatomy of how the riot started and how it unfolded is something you will never learn from any newspaper in Matamoros. I’ve looked on the Expreso and El Diario newspaper websites from Matamoros, and nary a word about the prison riot. The editors would probably get killed if they printed information.
The public security office in Tamaulipas state has issued a statement with only the barest of facts.
In reality, prison violence breaks out monthly somewhere in the country, and scores of inmates are dead already this year. Here’s a quick breakdown as reported in El Universal this morning:
/ Durango: 12 die in a prison riot Jan. 11, and nine more die on May 19 in same place.
/ Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas state: A disturbance on July 15 in the prison leaves seven inmates dead. Fifty-six inmates escape.
/Ciudad Juarez: Seventeen inmates die when a gun battle breaks out between inmates.
/ Topo Chico, Nuevo Leon: Two inmates are beaten to death Sept. 26 for fighting one another.
/ Cadereyta, Nuevo Leon: A battle between inmates leaves seven dead and 12 injured.
In some prisons, inmates don’t just have homemade zip guns. They have real firearms, even automatic weapons. Several were found in the last week again in one of the prisons in Ciudad Juarez.
Mexico has no death penalty, but getting sent to prison can be a de facto death sentence.