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The crisis of detention and the politics of denial in Latin America

  • Paul Hathazy and Markus-Michael Müller

This article assesses the causes of the crisis of detention in Latin America. It is argued that this crisis, which manifests itself in overpopulation of the region's prison systems, deficient infrastructure, prison informality and violence propelled ultimately by political processes, is mostly related to, on the one hand, disastrous human rights conditions inside Latin American prisons, and on other, the political denial of these conditions. This denial produces a state of institutional abandonment that is preserved by the interests of politicians and bureaucrats, who are engaged in denying prison violence and human rights abuses while simultaneously calling for more punishment and imprisonment.

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1 Alonso Soto, “Brazil Drug Gangs Spark Prison Riot, 56 Dead”, Reuters, 2 January 2017; Nátalia Lucas, “Detentos foram esquartejados e decapitados em briga de facções em presídio de Manaus”, O Globo, 2 January 2017.

2 Jill Langlois, “126 Inmates Still at Large in Brazil after a Prison Riot that Left 56 Dead”, Los Angeles Times, 6 January 2017.

3 “Umanizzare esclarece o seu papel”, available at: (all internet references were accessed in October 2017).

4 Euan McKirdy and Jay Croft, “At Least 56 Killed in Brazil Prison Riot over Drug Turf, Officials Say”, CNN, 3 January 2017, available at:

5 Robert Muggah and Ilona Szabó de Carvalho, “Brazil's Deadly Prison System”, New York Times, 4 January 2017.

6 This term is borrowed from Li, Murray, The Will to Improve: Governmentality, Development and the Practices of Politics, Duke University Press, Durham, NC, 2007 .

7 Dammert, Lucia and Zúñiga, Liza, Prisons: Problems and Challenges for the Americas, FLACSO, Santiago de Chile, 2008, pp. 4166 ; Darke, Sacha and Karam, Maria Lúcia, “Latin American Prisons”, in Jewkes, Yvonne, Crewe, Ben and Bennett, Jamie (eds), Handbook on Prisons, 2nd ed., Routledge, Abingdon, 2012, p. 462 ; Iturralde, Manuel, “Colombian Prisons as a Core Institution of Authoritarian Liberalism”, Crime, Law and Social Change, Vol. 65, No. 3, 2016, pp. 139140 ; Hathazy, Paul and Müller, Markus-Michael, “The Rebirth of the Prison in Latin America: Determinants, Regimes and Social Effects”, Crime, Law and Social Change, Vol. 65, No. 3, 2016, p. 114121 ; Müller, Markus-Michael, “The Rise of the Penal State in Latin America”, Contemporary Justice Review, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2012, pp. 6467 .

8 S. Darke and M. L. Karam, above note 7, p. 462.

9 Walmsley, Roy, World Prison Population List, 11th ed., Institute for Criminal Research Policy, Birkbeck, University of London, 2016, p. 2 , available at:

10 Ungar, Mark and Magaloni, Ana Laura, “Latin America's Prisons: A Crisis of Criminal Policy and Democratic Rule”, in Bergman, Marcelo and Whitehead, Laurence (eds), Criminality, Public Security and the Challenge to Democracy in Latin America, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, IN, 2009, p. 224 .

11 This number is based on data provided by the World Prison Population List, above note 9, including Caribbean countries.

12 In the case of Haiti, this extremely low number should mostly be seen as a reflection of the near-total destruction of all public infrastructure, including all the country's prisons, after the 2010 earthquake.

13 World Prison Population List, above note 9, pp. 5–7.

14 M. Ungar and A. L. Magaloni, above note 10, p. 226.

15 Elías Carranza, “Prisons in Latin America and the Caribbean: What to Do, What not to Do”, United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Resource Material Series No. 94, Fuchu, 2014, p. 193, available at:

16 Helmke, Gretchen and Levitsky, Steven, “Informal Institutions and Comparative Politics: A Research Agenda”, Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 2, No. 4, 2004, p. 727 .

17 Hathazy, Paul, “Remaking the Prisons of the Market Democracies: New Experts, Old Guards and Politics in the Carceral Fields of Argentina and Chile”, Crime, Law and Social Change, Vol. 65, No. 3, 2016 ; P. Hathazy and M.-M. Müller, above note 7, p. 122.

18 See, for instance, Cavallaro, Jim, Kopas, Jacob, Lam, Yukyan, Mayhle, Timothy and de Biedermann, Soledad Villagra, Security in Paraguay: Analysis and Responses in Comparative Perspective, Harvard Law School, Human Rights Program, Cambridge, MA, 2008 ; L. Dammert and L. Zúñiga, above note 7; Rivera, Lirio Gutierrez, Territories of Violence: State, Marginal Youth, and Public Security in Honduras, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2013 ; P. Hathazy and M.-M. Müller, above note 7, p. 130; M.-M. Müller, above note 7; Ungar, Mark, “Prisons and Politics in Contemporary Latin America”, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 4, 2003 .

19 Müller, Markus-Michael, “The Universal and the Particular in Latin American Penal State Formation”, in Squires, Peter and Lea, John (eds), Criminalisation and Advanced Marginality: Critically Exploring the Work of Loïc Wacquant, Policy Press, Bristol, 2012 .

20 Birkbeck, Christopher and Pérez-Santiago, Neelie, “The Character of Penal Control in Latin America: Sentence Remissions in a Venezuelan Prison”, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Vol. 6, No. 3, 2006, p. 290 .

21 P. Hathazy and M.-M. Müller, above note 7, p. 121. See also Dias, Camila Nunes and Darke, Sacha, “From Dispersed to Monopolized Violence: Expansion and Consolidation of the Primeiro Comando da Capital's Hegemony in São Paulo's Prisons”, Crime, Law and Social Change, Vol. 65, No. 3, 2016 ; L. Gutierrez Rivera, above note 18; M.-M. Müller, above note 7, pp. 69–70; King, Roy D. and Valensia, Bruna, “Power, Control, and Symbiosis in Brazilian Prisons”, South Atlantic Quarterly, Vol. 113, No. 3, 2014 .

22 Cruz, José Miguel, “Central American Maras: From Youth Gangs to Transnational Protection Rackets”, Global Crime Vol. 11, No. 4, 2010 ; L. Gutierrez Rivera, above note 18; Willis, Graham Denyer, The Killing Consensus; Police, Organized Crime, and the Regulation of Life and Death in Urban Brazil, University of California Press, Oakland, CA, 2015 .

23 Alicia Bárcena, “Latin America is the World's Most Unequal Region. Here's How to Fix It”, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, 2016, available at:

24 Pinheiro, Paulo Sergio, “The Rule of Law and the Underprivileged in Latin America: Introduction”, in Mendez, Juan E., O'Donnell, Guillermo and Pinheiro, Paulo Sergio, The (Un)Rule of Law and the Underprivileged in Latin America, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, IN, 1999 .

25 Holston, James, Insurgent Citizenship: Disjunctions of Democracy and Modernity in Brazil, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2008, pp. 228229 .

26 M.-M. Müller, above note 7, p. 68.

27 Azaola, Elena and Bergman, Marcelo, “The Mexican Prison System”, in Cornelius, Wayne A. and Shirk, David A. (eds), Reforming the Administration of Justice in Mexico, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, IN, 2007, p. 112 ; Carrión, Fernando¿Por qué todos los caminos conducen a la miseria del panóptico?’”, URVIO: Revista Latinoamericana de Seguridad Ciudadana, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2007, pp. 1, 59 .

28 Cohen, Stanley, Estados de negación: Ensayo sobre atrocidades y sufrimiento, trans. Bellof, Mary, 1st ed., Univesidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, 2005, p. 11 .

29 P. Hathazy and M.-M. Müller, above note 7.

30 Müller, Markus-Michael, “Penalizing Democracy: Punitive Politics in Neoliberal Mexico”, Crime, Law and Social Change, Vol. 65, No. 3, 2016 .

31 Sozzo, Maximo (ed.), Postneoliberalismo y penalidad en América del Sur, CLACSO, Buenos Aires, 2016 .

32 Paul Hathazy, “Entre la ‘represion’, la ‘prevención’ y la ‘seguridad interior’: Categorías y políticas de seguridad en la pos-transición Argentina”, study presented at workshop on “Estudios sociales sobre delito, policía y violencia: La seguridad en cuestión”, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, 10 April 2017; Sunkel, Guillermo, “Medios de comunicación y violencia en la transición Chilena”, Cuadernos del Foro ’90, No. 3, 1992 ; Chevigny, Paul, “The Populism of Fear: Politics of Crime in the Americas”, Punishment and Society, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2003, p. 79 ; Salas, Yolanda, “Imaginaries and Narratives of Prison Violence”, in Rotker, Susana (ed.), Citizens of Fear: Urban Violence in Latin America, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ, 2000 .

33 P. Chevigny, above note 32.

34 Cavarozzi, Marcelo, Autoritarismo y democracia (1955–2006), Ariel, Buenos Aires, 2006, p. 56 , Rodriguez, Victoria, “Centralizing Politics vs. Decentralizing Policies in Mexico”, in Vellinga, Menno, The Changing Role of the State in Latin America, Westview Press, Boulder, CO, 1998 .

35 P. Hathazy and M.-M. Müller, above note 7.

36 Müller, Markus-Michael, The Punitive City: Privatised Policing and Protection in Neoliberal Mexico, Zed Books, London, 2016 .

37 P. Chevigny, above note 32; Wacquant, Loïc, “The Militarization of Urban Marginality: Lessons from the Brazilian Metropolis”, International Political Sociology, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2008 ; Hathazy, Paul, “(Re)Shaping the Neoliberal Leviathans: The Politics of Penality and Welfare in Argentina, Chile and Peru”, European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, No. 95, October 2013 .

38 Antillano, Andres, “Crimen y castigo en la revolución bolivariana”, Cuestiones de Sociología: Revista de Estudios Sociales, No. 10, 2014 ; Jorge Paladines, “La ‘mano dura’ de la Revolución Ciudadana (2007–2014)”, in M. Sozzo (ed.), above note 31; Martha Lia Grajales and Maria Lucrecia Hernandez, “Chavismo y política penal (1999–2014)”, in M. Sozzo (ed.), above note 31.

39 Arias, Enrique Desmond and Goldstein, Daniel M. (eds), Violent Democracies in Latin America, Duke University Press, Durham, NC, 2010 .

40 Pearce, Jenny, “Perverse State Formation and Securitized Democracy in Latin America”, Democratization, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2010 .

41 M.-M. Müller, above note 36, pp. 5–9.

42 P. Hathazy and M.-M. Müller, above note 7, p. 116.

43 Paul Hathazy, “Democratizing Leviathan: Politics, Experts and Bureaucrats in the Transformation of the Penal State in Argentina and Chile”, PhD dissertation, Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, CA, 2013, pp. 260–274; Hathazy, Paul, “Punitivism with a Human Face: Criminal Justice Reformers’ International and Regional Strategies and Penal-State Making in Argentina, Chile and Beyond”, Kriminologisches Journal, Vol. 48, No. 4, 2016 .

44 P. Hathazy and M.-M. Müller, above note 7; Bailey, John and Dammert, Lucia, Public Security and Police Reform in the Americas, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA, 2006 ; Frühling, Hugo, “Police Reform and the Process of Democratization”, in Frühling, Hugo, Tulchin, Joseph S. and Golding, Heather A. (eds), Crime and Violence in Latin America: Citizen Security, Democracy, and the State, Woodrow Wilson Center Press, Washington, DC, 2003 .

45 Maier, Julio, Ambos, Kai and Woischnik, Jan (eds), Las reformas procesales penales en América Latina, Ad-Hoc, Konrad Adenauer Foundation and Max Planck Institut, Buenos Aires, 2001 ; Rodriguez, Cesar, “Globalization, Judicial Reform and the Rule of Law in Latin America: The Return of Law and Development”, Beyond Law, Vol. 7, No. 23, 2001 ; P. Hathazy, “Democratizing Leviathan”, above note 43, pp. 264–268.

46 See, for example, Echeverría, Sebastián Salinero, “¿Porqué aumenta la población penal en Chile? Un estudio criminológica longitudinal”, Revista Ius et Praxis, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2012, pp. 113115 ; M. L. Grajales and M. L. Hernandez, above note 38; Pasara, Luis et al. , Independencia judicial insuficiente, prisión preventiva deformada: Los casos de Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador y Peru, Due Process of Law Foundation, Washington, DC, 2013 .

47 P. Hathazy and M.-M. Müller, above note 7; J. Bailey and L. Dammert, above note 44; H. Frühling, above note 44.

48 For Argentina and Chile, see P. Hathazy, “Democratizing Leviathan”, above note 43, pp. 220–246.

49 On criminal procedure, see ibid., p. 146; Riego, Christian, “The Chilean Criminal Procedure Reform”, International Journal of the Sociology of Law, Vol. 26, No. 4, 1998, p. 449 for the Chilean case. For a regional trend, see P. Hathazy, “Punitivism with a Human Face”, above note 43, p. 314. Grajales and Hernandez, above note 38, and Paladines, above note 38, observe analogous subordination of human rights standards to security concerns in Venezuela and Ecuador.

50 See, for instance, Cleary, Edward L., Mobilizing for Human Rights in Latin America, Kumarian Press, Bloomflied, CT, 2007 .

51 See Special Issue on Rebirth of the Prison”, Crime, Law and Social Change, Vol. 65, No. 3, 2016 , edited by Paul Hathazy and Markus-Michael Müller.

52 Luciana Pol, “Failed Drug Policies in Latin America: The Impact on Prisons and Human Rights”, Penal Reform International, 24 April 2015, available at:

53 M.-M. Müller, above note 7, p. 62.

54 Metaal, Pien and Youngers, Coletta, Systems Overload: Drug Laws and Prisons in Latin America, Transnational Institute and Washington Office on Latin America, Washington, DC, 2011, p. 5 , available at:

55 Corda, Alejandra, Drug Policy Reform in Latin America: Discourse and Reality, Colectivo de Estudios Drogas y Derecho, 2015 .

56 See, for instance, Lemaitre, Julieta and Albarracin, MauricioPatrullando la dosis personal: La represión cotidiana y los debates de las políticas públicas sobre el consumo de drogas ilíticas en Colombia”, in Uribe, Alejandro Gaviria and Londoño, Daniel Mejía (eds), Políticas antidroga en Colombia: Éxitos, fracasos, extravíos, Bogota, Universidad de los Andes, 2011 .

57 M.-M. Müller, above note 30, p. 232.

58 Milburn, Michael A. and Conrad, Sheree D., The Politics of Denial, MIT Press, Boston, MA, 1996, p. 2 .

59 Ibid ., p. 4.

60 S. Cohen, above note 28, p. 30.

61 Ibid .

62 E. D. Arias and D. M. Goldstein, above note 39.

63 P. Chevigny, above note 32; Sozzo, Máximo, “Populismo punitivo, proyecto normalizador y ‘prisión-depósito’ en Argentina”, Sistema Penal y Violencia, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2010 ; Cisneros, Lucia Nuñovero, “Las razones y los sentimientos del encierro: consideraciones político económicas del aumento de las poblaciones penitenciarias en el Perú”, in Constant, Chloe (ed.), Pensar las cárceles de América Latina, Instituto de Estudios Andinos, Lima, 2016 .

64 Beckett, Katherine, Making Crime Pay: Law and Order in Contemporary American Politics, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1997 .

65 Rey, German (ed.), Los relatos periodísticos del crimen: Como se cuenta el delito en la prensa escrita latinoamericana , Fundación Friedrich Ebert, Bogotá, 2007 . See also Cevallos, Jenny Pontón, “The Crime Section in Ecuadorian Media: A Problem of Citizen Security?”, Revista Urvio, No. 5, September 2008 ; Cevallos, Jenny Pontón, “Prensa y situación carcelaria en el país”, Boletin Ciudad Segura: FLACSO sede Ecuador, No. 1, January 2006, p. 12 , available at:

66 S. Cohen, above note 28, p. 27.

67 These dynamics were already observed by Teresa Caldeira in the late 1990s in her study of the Carandirú prison massacre in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where all these implicatory denials of prison violence and of the atrocities committed in the recovery of the prisons were present. See Caldeira, Teresa P. R., “The Massacre at the Casa de Detencao”, in City of Walls: Crime, Segregation and Citizenship in Sao Paulo, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA 2000, pp. 175182 .

68 Garland, David, “Penality and the Penal State”, Criminology, Vol. 51, No. 3, 2013 .

69 Sanchez, Manuel Iturralde and Ariza, Libardo, “Reformando el infierno: Los tribunales y la transformación del campo penitenciario en América Latina”, in Ariza, Libardo José and Iturralde, Manuel (eds), Los muros de la infamia: Prisiones en Colombia y en América Latina, CIJUS, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, 2011 .

70 Ibid ., p. 21.

71 P. Hathazy, “Democratizing Leviathan”, above note 43, pp. 244–245, 258–259; P. Hathazy, above note 17.

72 For the Argentine cases, see P. Hathazy, “Democratizing Leviathan”, above note 43, pp. 272–273.

73 On the politicization of judicial positions and punitive stances, see Pasara, Luis, “Prisión preventiva e independencia judicial en Colombía, Ecuador y Perú”, in La justicia en la región andina, Fondo Editorial, PUC-Peru, Lima, 2015, pp. 443467 .

74 Pásara, Luis, “El ministerio público en la reforma procesal penal de Chile” and “Acerca de la reforma procesal penal en Chile, Ecuador y Perú”, in La justicia en la región andina, Fondo Editorial, PUC-Peru, Lima, 2015, pp. 115152 ; Lemgruber, Julita et al. , Ministerio Público: Guardiao da democracia brasileira?, Centro de Estudos de Seguranca e Cidadanía, Rio de Janeiro, 2016 .

75 P. Hathazy, “Democratizing Leviathan”, above note 43, p. 200; Jörg Alfred Stippel, “Acceso a la justicia en materia penitenciaria: ‘Una deuda pendiente y un desafió para el futuro’”, available at:; Leal, Cesar Barros, La ejecución penal en América Latina a la luz de los derechos humanos, Porrúa, ILANUD and UNAM, 2009 .

76 Vial, Andres Dominguez (ed.), El sol en la ciudad: Estudios de prevención del delito y modernización penitenciaria, Editora Nacional de Derechos Humanos, Santiago de Chile, 1993 .

77 For the Argentine and Chilean cases, see P. Hathazy, “Democratizing Leviathan”, above note 43, pp. 275–276, 258–260; P. Hathazy “Punitivism with a Human Face”, above note 43.

78 On the informality of prisons in Latin America, see Birkbeck, Christopher, “Imprisonment and Internment: Comparing Penal Institutions North and South”, Punishment and Society, Vol. 13, No. 3, 2011 . On the everyday markets of goods and information in prisons, see, for example, Francesca Cerbini, “El espacio carcelario y la organización interna de los reclusos de San Pedro (La Paz, Bolivia): Repensando el concepto de vigilar y castigar”, and Andres Antillano, “La prisión en dos tiempos: La cárcel venezolana entre el neolibralismo y la revolucíon bolivariana”, in C. Constant (ed.), above note 63.

79 On the professionalizing tendencies of political agents in the new Latin American democracies, see M. Cavarozzi, above note 34, p. 56.

80 For Brazil, see Salla, Fernando, “As rebeliões nas prisões: Novos significados a partir da experiência Brasileira”, Sociologias, Vol. 8, No. 16, 2006 . For Chile and Argentina, see P. Hathazy, “Democratizing Leviathan”, above note 43, p. 225. For Venezuela, see A. Antillano, above note 78.

81 A prime example is the process of relocation observed in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, the biggest prison system in Latin America, as documented in Silvestre, Giane, “O proceso de interiorizacao penitenciaria em Sao Paulo”, in Dias de visita: Uma sociología da punicao e das prisoes, Alameda, São Paulo, 2012, pp. 121130 .

82 See Draper, Susana, Afterlives of Confinement: Spatial Transitions in Postdictatorship Latin America, Pittsburgh University Press, Pittsburgh, PA, 2012 .

83 Dezalay, Yves and Garth, Bryant G., The Internationalization of Palace Wars: Lawyers, Economists and the Contest to Transform Latin American States, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, 2002, p. 7 . See also Müller, Markus-Michael, “De-Monopolizing the Bureaucratic Field: Internationalization Strategies and the Transnationalization of Security Governance in Mexico City”, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, Vol. 39, No. 1, 2014 .

84 P. Hathazy, “Democratizing Leviathan”, above note 43, p. 224.

85 The human rights reports of the 1970s gave renown to human rights organizations documenting the aberrant human rights violations during dictatorship. See Dezalay, Yves and Garth, Bryant G., “From the Cold War to Kosovo: The Rise and Renewal of the Field of International Human Rights”, Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2006 .

86 Riego, Cristian, “La prisión durante el proceso penal en Chile”, Cuadernos de Análisis Jurídico, No. 16, 1990 ; P. Hathazy, “Democratizing Leviathan”, above note 43, p. 223.

87 See Stippel, Jörg Alfred, Las cárceles y la búsqueda de una política criminal para Chile, LOM, Santiago de Chile, 2006, p. 34 ; S. Salinero Echeverría, above note 46, p. 115.

88 Three weeks after the first massive protest in prisons in Chile, the justice and public works ministers announced a programme to build prisons for 16,000 inmates, putting them in the hands of private companies: El Mercurio, 14 January 2001.

89 The government privatized prisons “the French way”, retaining security and supervision of prisons and contracting out building and operations, as well as provision of food, laundry, medical and rehabilitation “services”: El Mercurio, 14 January 2001. For an analysis of the privatization process, see P. Hathazy, “Democratizing Leviathan”, above note 43, pp. 226–229.

90 Their 2002 report showed overcrowding, lack of hygiene, insufficient food, prisons controlled by inmates with high levels of violence, deaths, and a highly tense order produced by the collaboration between abusive and exploitative gangs and despotic guards. The report also denounced systematic torture and physical abuses. See Castro, Alvaro and Hernandez, Martin Besio, “Chile: Las cárceles de la miseria”, Pena y Estado: Revista Latinoamericana de Political Criminal, Vol. 6, No. 6, 2005 .

91 CODEPU, “¿Quienes somos?”, available at:

92 CONFRAPECO, “Confraternidad de Familiares y Amigos de Presos Comunes – CONFAPRECO”,, available at:

93 de Derechos Humanos, Centro, Informe anual sobre derechos humanos en Chile 2009, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago de Chile, 2010, p. 96 .

94 This was a private institution owned by the Federal Republic of Germany that under the banner of technical assistance (technische Zusammenarbeit) provided development aid to countries in the global South between 1975 and 2011.

95 See, for instance, Feest, Johannes, “Hacia un sistema de control de la ejecucion de penas no privativas de libertad”, Boletín Jurídico del Ministerio de Justicia, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2003 .

96 See above note 80.

97 Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty “Rapporteurship on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty Concludes Visit to Chile”, Press Release No. 39/08, 2008, available at:

98 In 1994 the IACHR declared that steps must be made “to remedy inhuman conditions in prisons”, and it began dealing with them in its annual report of 1995. It issued a recommendation in 1998, has produced country studies since 1998, and created a special rapporteurship on the rights of persons deprived of liberty in its 119th session, in March 2004. See:

99 The Council was formed entirely of “specialists” from think-tanks and NGOs: the Fundación Paz Ciudadana, Center for the Study of Security, led by Hugo Frühling; the FLACSO Security and Citizenship Program, directed by Lucía Dammnert; and Cristian Riego from the Justice Studies Center of the Americas. The think-tanks and university expert were joined by the Supreme Court prosecutor, and representatives of the Ministries of Justice and the Interior. The minister of justice asked them to work on rehabilitation. See Consejo para la Reforma Penitenciaria, Recomendaciones para una nueva política penitenciaria, Ministerio de Justicia de Chile, Santiago de Chile, 2010 .

100 Ibid .

101 de Derechos Humanos, Centro, “Sistema penitenciacio y derechos humanos”, in Informe anual sobre derechos humanos en Chile 2009, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago de Chile, 2010, p. 109 .

102 de Derechos Humanos, Centro, “Sistema penitenciacio y derechos humanos”, in Informe anual sobre derechos humanos en Chile 2011, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago de Chile, 2011, pp. 111113 , section “Incendio de la Carcel San Miguel”.

103 Ibid ., pp. 113–118, section “Reformas y avances desde 2010 a la fecha”.

104 Law 20.588, “Indulto general”, 22 May 2012, available at:

105 Law 20.587, “Modifica el régimen de libertad condicional y establece en caso de multa la pena alternativa de trabajos comunitarios”, 8 July 2012, available at:

106 de Derechos Humanos, Centro, Informe anual sobre derechos humanos en Chile 2014, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago de Chile, 2014, p. 286 .

107 M.-M. Müller, above notes 30 and 36; Müller, Markus-Michael, “Penal Statecraft in the Latin American City: Assessing Mexico City's Punitive Urban Democracy”, Social and Legal Studies, Vol. 22, No. 4, 2013 .

108 Heinle, Kimberly, Ferreira, Octavio Rodríguez and Shirk, David A., Drug Violence in Mexico: Data and Analysis through 2015, Justice in Mexico Project, University of San Diego, San Diego, CA, 2016 , available at:

109 See Longston, Jay, Democratization and Authoritarian Party Survival: Mexico's PRI, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2017 .

110 de la República, Presidencia, 4to. Informe de Gobierno: 2015–2016. Anexo estadístico, Gobierno de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, Mexico City, 2016, p. 53 .

111 On the latter, see Watch, Americas, Prison Conditions in Mexico, Human Rights Watch, New York, 1991 .

112 CNDH, Diagnóstico nacional de supervisión penitenciaria 2014, CNDH, Mexico City, 2014 .

113 Mendoza, Arturo Alvarado, “La criminalidad y las políticas de seguridad en México”, Cuestiones de Sociología, No. 10, 2014 .

114 M.-M. Müller, above note 30, p. 233.

115 Personal interview with NGO member, Mexico City, April 2008.

116 M.-M. Müller, above note 36, pp. 101–102.

117 Personal interview with NGO member, Mexico City, June 2006.

118 On the difficulties of access to government by civil society actors, see Lean, Sharon F., “Enhancing Accountability in Mexico: Civil Society in a New Relationship with the State?”, LASA Forum, Vol. 45, No. 1, 2014 , available at:

119 Personal interview, NGO member, Mexico City, July 2007, quoted in Müller, Markus-Michael, “The Struggle over Human Rights in Mexico”, in Hoffmann-Holland, Klaus (ed.), Ethics and Human Rights in a Globalized World, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, 2009 .

120 M.-M. Müller, above note 83.

121 Nigel Rodley, “Torture and Conditions of Detention in Latin America”, in J. E. Mendez, G. O'Donnell and P. S. Pinheiro, above note 24, pp. 39–40.

122 IACHR, Report on the Human Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas, Washington, DC, 2011, pp. 219220 , available at:

123 Y. Dezalay and B. G. Garth, above note 83, p. 249.

124 Ibid .

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