Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Mexico to Build Eight New Prisons After Zetas Escape

Sunday, February 26, 2012 |

But by focusing on the role overcrowding played in the Zetas riot and escape, is the Mexican government missing the bigger picture in terms of prison reform?

By James Bosworth,
The Christian Monitor

Smoke is seen coming from inside the prison of Apodaca as police guard the area on the outskirts of Monterrey, Mexico, February 21. Family members started a fire outside the fence and gunshots were heard from inside the prison, according to local media, three days after members of the Zetas drug cartel plotted with prison guards to orchestrate an elaborate escape and kill 44 of their rivals.

The Mexican government announced they will build eight new federal prisons this year as a response to the recent massacre and prison break by the Zetas in Nuevo Leon. This may be a necessary step in the short term, but more deep-seated issues remain:

1) The expansion does little to fundamentally rethink the prison problem. The prison population in Mexico is increasing dramatically and it doesn't seem likely to slow down any time soon. Building eight or even 20 new prisons may ease the burden for now, but those institutions will eventually be overcrowded too.
 
  2) Building more prisons does nothing to deal with problems related to pretrial detention. If 70 percent of people in some Mexican state prisons are awaiting court dates, it seems that Mexico may need to focus on additional courts and judges more so than new prisons.
 
 3) How will they safely and effectively staff the new prisons? The recent massacre showed that Zetas bribed several dozen prison guards at a single prison, and given this how does Mexico expect to staff more prisons and avoid that sort of corruption in the future? It doesn't do any good to build eight new prisons if the prison system as a whole is broken and serves as an organizational base for the criminal groups.

James Bosworth is a freelance writer and consultant based in Managua, Nicaragua, who runs Bloggings by Boz.

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28 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

mexico is a country with no hope. only hope is building a wall and educating both american drug consumers but legislators in the united states. legalize pot and magical mushrooms; crime will drop in half right there. most robberies shooting in america are linked to desperation out of hatred/and or jealousy. mandatory life sentencing for manufacturing of methamphetamines and stop glorifying cocaine. its a terrible drug with many risks and consequences. one day the world will change; I am just hoping it doesn't take 50 years.

this will never happen as bad in america due to our right to bear arms and probably the fact that it's harder to corrupt our law enforcement. although it does happen.

Anonymous said...

Your the only one with no hope

Anonymous said...

Mexico has lots of hope. Colombia was in a similar situation in the 1980s and early 90s. Took them seven years to quell it. The US was in a similar situation in the 1920s, took seven years to beat it back. Russia was in an even worse situation after the Soviet Union collapsed in the late 80s. By 93, the Russian mafia owned almost 100% of the banks in the country and were extorting 80% of the businesses in the country. It took seven years to stop them.

The Mexican government will win, but it has to play out first.

Anonymous said...

God sometimes I do feel ashamed to be mexican it is very clear to me that criminals run the local governments where they operate and that includes prisons so if you want to stop these criminals you have to clean the local govenment first and by doing so you you are destroing criminals protection ring

Anonymous said...

Well good news about more federal prisons. About the potential overcrowding problem simple bring in the death penalty for murder in Mexico a deterrent would be a start. As for corruption well invest in more education as an immediate solution I really don't know how the guards & police could stop being corrupt as if they say no to these thugs they'll die or their families vicious circle.

Anonymous said...

Don't build prisons. Just kill the fuckers on sight. If they surrender all the better, give them a bullet an dump the bodies!

Anonymous said...

Nice, the inmates will now have a new home in prison but it still does not remedy the corruption in Mexican Government........

Anonymous said...

Decriminalize ALL drugs and treat their abuse as a medical problem.

ALCOHOL is the worst DRUG of all the drugs,and is now officially listed as such by the country of England.

ALCOHOL is the KING of drugs.

The "DRUG WAR" is a barbaric and primitive approach to a sophisticated MEDICAL PROBLEM.

The "DRUG WAR" breeds and feeds crime and gives us organized crime on a scale never seen before.

The "DRUG WAR" destroys civilized living conditions of every country that embraces it.

Only a complete and total fool would support USA prohibition laws.

Decriminalize ALL drugs and treat their ABUSE as a medical problem.

Anonymous said...

TIME TO START THE DEATH PENALTY

Anonymous said...

Poor Mexico. It is about to do what the US has already done. Become a slave to it's huge prison systems. Poor Mexico. How about creating some jobs Calderon? Work, not war.

Anonymous said...

February 26, 2012 11:56 PM Have you seen the number of drug overdose on your country? There is no hope for U.S drug addicts.

Anonymous said...

The only reform that the Mexican prisons need is the institution of the death penalty.

"Decriminalize ALL drugs and treat their abuse as a medical problem."

I am with you as long as you don't force me to pay for their treatment (i.e. socialized entitlement programs).

I am sure you are for ending the prohibition of all "things" especially firearms as well.

Anonymous said...

Only cowards are ashamed

Anonymous said...

REALLY?!?! More fucking prisons?! Mexico=FAIL

Anonymous said...

What if someone injected cyanide into random keys of coke,would that be a deterent to drug use?

Anonymous said...

WHAT ABOUT MAKING MORE JOBS,TRAINING, OPPORTUNITIES,FOR YOUNG MEN,JUST A THOUGHT.

Anonymous said...

THIS IS GREAT NEWS!

Anonymous said...

Hope they place the prisons far from the US/Mexico border where many of these criminals are based.

Anonymous said...

build hundreds of prisons, thousands even...won't make a bit of difference if the guards and directors are always getting flipped and accepting bribes etc...PENDEJOS!!

Anonymous said...

"The only reform that the Mexican prisons need is the institution of the death penalty."

Lawyers will quickly turn that into a money making scam, like they have done in the USA.

Anonymous said...

@ anon February 27, 2012 6:13 AM,TIME TO START THE DEATH PENALTY...The good 'ol U.S of A legalized the death penalty in some of its states.Has it deterred serial killers & rapists from commiting their crimes?(oh wait,you dont execute rapists & child molesters,you protect them).What about all the shootings in your schools...those are innocent kids getting killed while sitting in class being educated.Death penalty?riiight!!Lots of good its done your country!!

Anonymous said...

At the comment above: the death penalty may not always prevent all crime. There are always psychopaths who will not be deterred. Your straw man argument relating serial killers and a couple school shootings to the mass carnage taking place in Mexico is ridiculous though. If the USA doesn't end the prohibition of drugs across the board, a death penalty in Mexico may indeed curb a lot of the violence. I love Mexico, and I love the culture of the Mexican family, but to pretend that your country isn't completely corrupt and on the verge of collapse is insane. Lots of people want to point their finger at America as if we are the reason for all of Mexico's woes, when in reality Mexico has been a wild bribe fest since... Well, long before the narco violence even started. Blame the USA's appetite for narcotics all you want and while you're at it blame us for the violence. It doesn't change the fact that the Mexican public and elected officials have been willing to pander to the cartels for a long time. It's not the United State's fault that Mexico is a disaster area... I don't blame Mexico for a friend overdosing on cocaine. Don't blame us when people from your country seek out guns and kill. It's a chicken and egg sort of dilemma an the only answer is to end prohibition

Anonymous said...

8 more prisons zetas are gonna escape from

Anonymous said...

Mexican government will end up winning this war the question here is how longer will it take?

Anonymous said...

@ anon February 27, 2012 7:15 PM, We have a huge problem in our hands as a Mexican I realize this.But for your U.S. paisanos to suggest the death penalty for the criminal element in our country?I'm simply pointing out that the U.S. is not necessarely spotless as far as corruption & your Justice System definitely is'nt perfect either.And just so you know,not all of our people lay blame on the U.S. for the weapons used by the cartels.But dont deny that the ATF didnt help facilitate plenty of them in their "Fast & Furious" failure!!!

Anonymous said...

"Poor Mexico....so far from God and so close to the United States!"

Old saying, but its meaning remains fresh.

Anonymous said...

February 28, 2012 12:55 PM Porfirio Diaz.

Anonymous said...

Literally meters away from us.Mexico is light years away from US.We all know it.And what is the basic reason?Who makes a country what it is?
Don't forget,in terms of immigrants Mexico is virgin.So who helped make it what it is.US/ Immigrants from Europe,and then every part of the globe helped make the US what it is.Who made Mexico,after all these,years,still a blight.
Blame who you like,Spanish,French,US,UK,Russia?
No,it is the Mexican people.Nothing more,nothing less.

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