Mexico’s only indigenous prison is free from drugs, rape, and corruption

07/21/16 Vice News 

Mexican Prison by Flickr user DexterPerrin find link to picThe prisoner, who comes from the Rarámuri indigenous group, says the trouble began at a traditional festival that involved downing considerable amounts of the corn-based spirit called tesgüino.

“My cousin arrived at 4am with a caliber 22 gun and began walking towards me,” he recalled, asking that his name not be used. “When I felt the bullets inside my body and all the desperation, I turned around and placed a bullet in his forehead. My cousin fell down onto the flames and I pulled him away so he would not get burned. I told another cousin to give word to the sheriff.”

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Monterrey prison: Employees are arrested after deadliest drug gang riot in Mexico’s history

2/19/16 International Business Times

MEXICO-CRIME-PRISON-RIOT
Relatives of inmates gather outside the Topo Chico prison in Monterrey, Mexico 

Mexican authorities have detained employees of the old and overcrowded Topo Chico prison in Monterrey, following the 11 February riot which resulted in the deaths of 52 people. Roberto Flores, the state prosecutor in Nuevo Leon has since accused prison director Gregoria Salazar, prison guard Jose Reyes Hernandez and the deputy superintendent Jesus Fernando Dominguez of homicide and abuse of authority and has placed them preventive custody.

The riot happened after fighting broke out between supporters of a gang leader Juan Pedro Saldivar-Farías known as Zeta 27, who have effectively taken control of the prison, and Jorge Iván Hernández, “El Credo”, a leader of another group, Gulf Cartel. It was not immediately clear how the victims died with reports stating that there was no gunfire.

The prison has long housed members of Zeta 27, who have spread fear across Mexico before being debilitated by arrests and the deaths of their founding members. The gang was also linked to another prison murder in Nuevo Leon in 2012, when 44 inmates died after Zeta members plotted with guards to stage an elaborate escape.

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EVENT TOMORROW! Criminal Justice in an Emerging Democracy: Perspectives from Mexico’s Inmates

prison cell blockWHEN: TOMORROW, Friday, May 27, 9:00-10:30am

WHERE: 5th Floor Conference Room, Woodrow Wilson Center

Click here to RSVP.

Mexico’s lower courts are undergoing a dramatic transformation, abandoning its behind-closed-doors, written criminal trials, and embracing a new criminal justice system (NCJS) with oral, adversary procedures. This reform template has been adopted by at least fourteen nations in Latin America. In order to measure the effects these reforms have on the criminal justice system, this event will present two studies that examine the system from an inmate’s perspective.

Roberto Hernández, the creator of the movies Presunto Culpable and El Tunel, will present a study that quantifies how authorities use their investigative powers to conduct eyewitness identification procedures; and interview or interrogate suspects. Elena Azaola will discuss a study conducted in 2014 in youth detention centers for adolescents who committed serious crimes. The study analyzes the background of these adolescents and the factors that contributed to their criminal actions.

Speakers

Roberto Hernández 
Mexican Lawyer and Filmmaker

Elena Azaola
Psychoanalyst and Anthropologist

Moderator

John Bailey
Professor, Georgetown University

Click here for more information, or to RSVP.

UPCOMING EVENT! Criminal Justice in an Emerging Democracy: Perspectives from Mexico’s Inmates

hands in handcuffsWHEN: Friday, March 27, 9:00-10:30am

WHERE: 5th Floor Conference Room, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Click here to RSVP.

Mexico’s lower courts are undergoing a dramatic transformation, abandoning its behind-closed-doors, written criminal trials, and embracing a new criminal justice system (NCJS) with oral, adversary procedures. This reform template has been adopted by at least fourteen nations in Latin America. In order to measure the effects these reforms have on the criminal justice system, this event will present two studies that examine the system from an inmate’s perspective.

Roberto Hernández, the creator of the movies Presunto Culpable and El Tunel, will present a study that quantifies how authorities use their investigative powers to conduct eyewitness identification procedures; and interview or interrogate suspects. Elena Azaola will discuss a study conducted in 2014 in youth detention centers for adolescents who committed serious crimes. The study analyzes the background of these adolescents and the factors that contributed to their criminal actions.

Speakers

Roberto Hernández 
Mexican Lawyer and Filmmaker

Elena Azaola
Psychoanalyst and Anthropologist

Moderator

John Bailey
Professor, Georgetown University

Click here for more information.

Mexico’s ‘Queen of the Pacific’ released from prison

2/09/2015 via CNN 

Sandra Avila BeltranIn Mexico’s male-dominated drug trade, her life story became a legend.

Now, after more than seven years behind bars, the woman known as “The Queen of the Pacific” is free. A judge ruled in favor of her appeal last week, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office said in a statement Saturday.

Sandra Ávila Beltrán’s story is the subject of a best-selling book and a popular ballad.

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Armed group frees 9 from Mexican prison, killing 2 guards

prison cell blockLos Angeles Times, 6/9/2013

A group of armed men stormed a prison in the Mexican state of Guerrero early Sunday, freeing nine prisoners, killing two guards and injuring another guard and a prisoner, state officials said. The prison break was the latest disturbing news from the southwestern coastal state. Like neighboring Michoacan, a number of Guerrero’s rural regions have been overrun by a drug cartel called the Knights Templar. Vigilante groups have emerged, purportedly in an effort to take their communities back, but there is a concern that some groups are linked to rival criminal gangs.

The breakout is also the latest embarrassment for the notoriously porous Mexican prison system. A number of major escapes in recent years occurred after collusion with prison authorities. Although it remains unclear exactly what happened in the Guerrero prison, the state government said in a news release that the prison director left the scene after the men were freed, and could not be located. State officials said the armed men entered the prison in the city of La Union, north of the Pacific resort city of Zihuatanejo. They shot and killed the two guards and left a third guard and a prisoner injured by gunfire.

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Officials say 13 dead, dozens injured in central Mexico prison clash

prison cell blockAssociated Press, 4/27/13

A battle between groups of prisoners left 13 inmates dead and another 65 injured on Saturday, according to officials in the central Mexican state of San Luis Potosi. The clash began when a group of inmates, fed up with harassment by other prisoners, used homemade knives and picks to attack their rivals starting at about 4:15 a.m. (5:15 a.m. EDT; 0915 GMT) at the La Pila prison in the state capital, according to the state attorney general’s office.

Agency spokeswoman Gabriela Gonzalez Chong called the violence a “fight not an uprising” against prison authorities. San Luis Potosi Gov. Fernando Toranzo told a news conference that 13 inmates had died, and that 22 of the 65 injured were in serious condition.

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Mexico Coahuila inmates fled ‘via front door, not tunnel’

BBC News, 9/21/12

The 131 Mexican inmates who fled jail this week escaped through the front door, not a tunnel as was previously reported, local officials say.

The officials in Coahuila state, near the US border, said guards and a drug cartel had helped the inmates.

The prison’s director and other officials in the city of Piedras Negras have now been detained.

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132 inmates escape Mexican prison on U.S. border

CNN, 9/18/2012

Mexican authorities have detained a prison director and two other prison officials after 132 inmates escaped from the facility Monday, officials said.

The attorney general for Coahuila state had asked a judge to detain the three prison leaders for 30 days while an investigation into the escape from the border city of Piedras Negras began.

Piedras Negras is across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, and about 150 miles from San Antonio.

The inmates escaped one by one from what’s known as a social rehabilitation center, a minimum-security facility, by using a 7-foot-long tunnel, according to a statement from the state attorney general. The escapees then cut through a chain-link fence and ran through an empty lot.

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Mexico prisoners in mass jail break near US border

Nuevo Laredo

BBC News, 12/18/2010

The prisoners broke out of the jail in Nuevo Laredo late on Thursday or early on Friday morning. Security guards are being questioned on suspicion of helping the inmates flee, and prison director has gone missing.

Mexico’s prison system is struggling to cope with an influx of violent offenders arrested in the government’s campaign against drugs cartels.

Nuevo Laredo in Tamaulipas state lies just across the border from Laredo, Texas. Tamaulipas security chief Antonio Garza said the break-out – one of the largest in the country’s history – went unnoticed until guards carried out a routine head count.

Officials believe the inmates had escaped through one of the prison’s back gates, with the connivance of one or more security guards.

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