Prison Law Blog

Sara Mayeux

Mexico’s Prisons Rife with Corruption, U.S. Prisons Step into the Breach

with 3 comments

You’ll want to read this New York Times article for the salacious lede:

MEXICO CITY — Prisoners in a northern Mexico jail were allowed out at night to carry out murder-for-hire jobs using jail guards’ weapons and vehicles, officials said Sunday, revealing a level of corruption that is stunning even in a country where prison breakouts are common as guards look the other way.

But for students of the U.S. prison system, the real lede is buried at the end:

Mexico’s prisons are known as havens for many criminal groups that operate from behind bars. Prisoners run telephone extortion rings from jail, and drug lords issue orders.

In response, the administration of President Felipe Calderón has extradited a record number of top drug suspects to the United States …

The War on Drugs generates profits for organized crime in Mexico, and it fills prisons in the United States. Sometimes, as here (and and see also this earlier post of mine), it does both of those things at once. Here we have another example of how the War on Drugs can’t be described as a purely American phenomenon, nor can it be separated from Mexico’s struggle to contain drug-related violence; the two nations have become allies in a single, ongoing, and seemingly unwinnable war.


Written by sara

July 26, 2010 at 8:20 am

3 Responses

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  1. Because in the US, no criminal group ever operates from behind bars, right??? 🙂


    July 26, 2010 at 9:04 am

  2. The War on Drugs also generates huge profits for US banks, as is shown by this article about the settlement Wachovia just entered into for laundering drug money:

    This has to be one of the biggest, most astounding stories that I’ve come across in a long, long time. During my very short “career” as a defense attorney, I’ve watched countless people go to jail and prison for long periods of time for possessing small amounts of drugs. Wachovia admits to facilitating the drug trade on a scale that absolutely dwarfs anything that anyone I’ve ever represented could even dream of…and they just pay a fine.


    July 27, 2010 at 6:46 am

    • thanks for that link, Mike. that’s pretty shocking.


      July 27, 2010 at 8:59 am

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