Following deadly prison riot, Mexico announces plans to build eight new prisons
Mexico is expanding the capacity of its federal prisons, in an attempt to move dangerous inmates away from insecure state run prisons, plagued by corrupt officials. (Photo: fotopedia.com)
Mexico said that it will build eight new prisons this year in an effort to mitigate overcrowding and violence in the country’s jails and move dangerous inmates from state run prisons to federal penitentiaries.
The announcement comes on the heels of a prison riot in a Monterrey jail on Sunday, in which 44 inmates died and more than 30 are said to have escaped the prison with the help of corrupt guards.
“Mexico’s penitentiary system faces very significant challenges,” said Interior Minister Alejandro Poire, during a press conference on Tuesday, in which he unveiled the government’s plans.
Poire explained that the new prisons will bolster ongoing efforts to transfer thousands of drug traffickers and other criminals convicted of federal crimes, from state run prisons to federal government prisons, which are thought to be more secure and less corrupt.
Poire said that “not a single” prison riot has occurred in federal prisons since the beginning of President Felipe Calderon’s administration.
In contrast, riots in state prisons have caused more than 75 deaths over the past two months.
The most recent incident in Monterrey was reportedly started by members of the Zetas Cartel, who attacked members of the rival Gulf Cartel and then escaped the prison with the help of corrupt guards.
According to the Interior Ministry, the federal prison population has grown by about 15 thousand inmates since 2006. But some 29,000 inmates, convicted for federal crimes like drug trafficking, are still lingering in state run jails.
Poire said that the eight new federal prisons will have a capacity to house 20,000 inmates.
But prison overcrowding is still likely to remain a problem in Mexico, which has an overall prison population of 230,000, but only has the capacity to hold about 185,000 prisoners.