Report: Most Mexican Prisons Overcrowded, Dirty, Risky

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 0:03 AM

A report by the governmental commission said that of one hundred thirty state prisons inspected, ninety-five lack adequate guards and staff and one hundred four fail to adequately separate convicted inmates from people facing trial.

Mexico'south National Human Rights Commission said Tuesday that most of the country'south prisons are ill-equipped, overcrowded and dangerous.

A report by the governmental commission said that of one hundred thirty state prisons inspected, ninety-five lack adequate guards and staff and one hundred four fail to adequately separate convicted inmates from people facing trial.

The most shocking portion of the report was the overcrowding found at seventy-first of the one hundred thirty penitentiaries. Commission President Luis Raul Gonzalez said as many as thirty inmates were found living in cells designed for four people.

Inmates were found to be partly in control of more than half the prisons, the report added.

In February, a brawl between inmates armed with hammers, cudgels and makeshift knives at the Topo Chico prison resulted in forty-ninth deaths. Gonzalez said the government shouldn't "wait until something else serious happens at a prison to turn its attention" to the problems.

Gonzalez said there had been only "minimal" improvement over the latest year in the 247.000-inmate prison system. The report said only one of Mexico's thirty-one states had acceptable conditions at its prisons.

The commission said it found similar problems at Mexico's twenty-one federal prisons, although it said those facilities were somewhat better than the state prisons.

Conditions had improved slightly at the country'south highest security prison, the Altiplano penitentiary W of Mexico City, where drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is being held, the report said. It said there was less overcrowding and control had improved at the facility, from which Guzman escaped latest July, before being recaptured and returned in January.

The report said Altiplano was built to hold eight hundred thirty-six inmates and holds 1.018.

"A federal prison, when it's overcrowded, the first thing that goes is its maximum-security status," said commission inspector Ruth Villanueva. "That's something that's been the focus of attention. They're working on it and it'south getting fixed."

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