The Dangerous Consequences of a Failed Penitentiary System

Daniela Ancira, July 12, 2017

Las Peligrosas Consecuencias de un Sistema Penitenciario Fallido


Abuses, corruption, self-government and mistreatment are part of the daily routine experienced by those deprived of their liberty in our country. We know that human rights violations, torture, the lack of health services and minimum hygiene conditions are the common denominator of our prisons and the daily bread of inmates.

News such as the videos shown inside the Topochico prison showing abuses against inmates, riots in the prisons of Cadereyta, Nuevo León, 29 inmates escaped from the Tamaulipas prison, fights recorded in the Cancún prison, fires inside the prison of Barrientos in the State of Mexico, and the more than 1,200 complaints about human rights violations reported by the National Human Rights Commission in the last year - not counting those filed at the state level, and those that were not reported -, show us one thing: our prisons, far from achieving their goal of reintegrating people into society, have become specialists in creating criminals.

As a society, we have become tolerant of such abuses, we are accustomed to hearing horror stories that occur inside our prisons without realizing how worrying it is to live in a country with a failed prison system, or what is more, without understanding that We all suffer the consequences every day as a society.

Far from being interested in what happens in our prisons, there are those who come to think that people deserve to be victims of such treatment for having committed a crime – starting from the utopia that prisons are full of criminals, and not of people without access to an adequate defense, as happens in reality .

Regardless of the social or economic reasons why a person is deprived of liberty, which sadly the vast majority do not correspond to their guilt in the commission of a crime, we cannot look away from this problem that affects us all. everyone: the terrible crisis of insecurity and context of violence in which we live.

Given the corruption and lack of social reintegration programs within penitentiary centers, and the indifference that we as a society show in this regard, we should not be surprised that crimes continue to be committed from prison: extortion, kidnappings, homicides, and all types of crimes related to Organized crime continues to be carried out even when those responsible are deprived of their liberty.

They say that prisons are a reflection of what happens in a country: How can we demand that our authorities punish this type of abuse, if we have become a tolerant society, accustomed to violence and mistreatment? How Do we expect our prisoners to stop committing crimes if we do not give them new opportunities in life? How can we hope to become a safer society if we don't worry about what happens in our prisons? If we have learned anything until today, it is that insecurity cannot be resolved by isolating and separating, but by facing and addressing: we cannot turn a blind eye to what happens inside our prisons, and at the same time demand that there be no crime.

We must unite as a society and stop tolerating violence, demand that our authorities guarantee and protect the human rights of those who are under their jurisdiction, because only in this way can we achieve change in our country. The country that we love so much and that needs us so much.