In Latin America’s prisons, notorious for extreme overcrowding and violence, inmates live in constant danger of being killed – a contradiction in a region where virtually every country has abolished the death penalty.
Nearly every day, violence breaks out in a Brazilian prison. In January the focus has been on the northeastern state of Maranhão, where orders issued from behind bars wreaked havoc in the streets of its capital city, illustrating the scope of national prison anarchy.
U.S. officials on Wednesday issued strict new guidelines on the use of solitary confinement for detainees being held on immigration charges, the first federal policy decision following a strengthened public debate on the country’s unprecedented dependence on “segregated housing”.
Countries in nearly every region of the world are continuing to turn to a U.S.-led model of prison privatisation despite mounting evidence that such systems are often neither cost-efficient nor able to provide adequate services.
A manhunt is under way for hundreds of inmates, including several high-ranking Al Qaeda members, who escaped two Iraqi prisons following deadly attacks.
The first prisoners’ union in Argentina, a country with a strong organised labour tradition, fights for the rights of inmates.
The U.S. federal prison system’s use of solitary confinement and other forms of “segregated housing” has increased substantially over the past five years, according to new data released by the U.S. Congress’s official independent watchdog.
The life histories of Cuban women in prison for murdering their violent husbands or boyfriends show the need for reforms of the criminal code to take account of gender reasons as mitigating factors in sentencing.
When Claudio was detained in a prison in the northeastern Italian city of Vicenza, he had to share a 7.6 square-metre cell with two other people. “Once you excluded the space taken up by beds and drawers, each inmate was left with 90 centimetres to himself. We had to take it in turns to stand up,” he told IPS.
The research wing of the U.S. Congress is warning that three decades of “historically unprecedented” build-up in the number of prisoners incarcerated in the United States have led to a level of overcrowding that is now “taking a toll on the infrastructure” of the federal prison system.
Edgar Torres Castillo, 21, has spent two years in the prison of Gómez Palacio, in the Lagunera district between the northern Mexican states of Durango and Coahuila – an arid zone known as one of the most dangerous parts of the country.
Representatives of the Argentine state and of non- governmental organisations will be visiting prisons without prior warning, beginning next year, to prevent inmates from being tortured and abused – a problem that persists three decades after the end of the dictatorship, often with fatal results.
Tucked away from the scrutiny of civil society, Mongolia’s jails epitomise the limits of democracy in this county of 2.8 million people, where marginalised members of society often bear the brunt of a corrupt and under-resourced justice system.
Eliane Negui knew just what to do when she got word that a group of inmates had escaped from Abidjan’s main prison, MACA, earlier this month. After all, the 24-year-old, who has lived across a dirt road from the facility for nine years, had witnessed the same scenario just two months before.
Nearly 29 years after the demise of the 1976-1983 dictatorship in Argentina, successive democratic governments have failed to find a humane way of running the prison system. Preventable deaths, torture and appalling conditions for inmates continue to be reported.