Prison Law Blog

Sara Mayeux

Posts Tagged ‘mexico

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

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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

The Connection between American Prisons and Mexican Drug Violence

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It gives “vicious cycle” new significance, bringing it back from the brink of meaningless cliche: Not only does the War on Drugs fuel a black market in narcotics that drives unimaginable violence and mayhem in Mexico, but the War on Drugs has also fueled the growth of American prisons, which, in turn… well, here’s a Washington Post article from the other day:

CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO — A cross-border drug gang born in the prison cells of Texas has evolved into a sophisticated paramilitary killing machine that U.S. and Mexican officials suspect is responsible for thousands of assassinations here, including the recent ambush and slaying of three people linked to the U.S. consulate.

The heavily tattooed Barrio Azteca gang members have long operated across the border in El Paso, dealing drugs and stealing cars. But in Ciudad Juarez, the organization now specializes in contract killing for the Juarez drug cartel. According to U.S. law enforcement officers, it may have been involved in as many as half of the 2,660 killings in the city in the past year. …

Mexican officials say that [recently arrested Ricardos] Valles [de la Rosa], 45, was born in Juarez but grew up in El Paso, where he lived for 30 years. Nicknamed “Chino,” he was a member of the Los Fatherless street gang in El Paso. In 1995, he was convicted of distributing drugs and spent 12 years in eight U.S. federal prisons, where he met an Azteca gang leader. After his release, he was deported to Mexico and began working with the Aztecas in Juarez.

Written by sara

April 6, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Oregon to Deport Selected Nonviolent Offenders in Exchange for Early Release

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The Corvallis Gazette-Times reports that Oregon’s new inmate deportation program is off to a start, albeit a slow one. The program applies only to inmates who are in the U.S. illegally, have less than six months left on their sentences, and have been convicted for certain nonviolent crimes, such as drugs or theft:

The state hopes to save more than $2 million over the current two-year budget cycle by sending the inmates back to their home countries, in Oregon’s case, mostly to Mexico.

The savings from the early deportation program were expected to begin shortly after it was approved by the Legislature last year. But a legal glitch delayed finalizing the agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, until January.

Oregon Department of Corrections officials said the program is now under way, with about a dozen inmates already handed over to ICE for deportation.

Prisoners waive their rights to challenge the deportation in exchange for commutation of their sentence by the governor and early release. They also face tough penalties if they return illegally.

Only a handful of other states have similar programs, but most have saved money.

New York has saved about $152 million since 1995 with its version of the program, while Arizona has saved more than $33 million since 2005, immigration officials said.

Georgia has reported the most successful program so far, removing more than 3,600 illegal immigrant inmates from October 2008 through August 2009 for an estimated savings of $204 million.

However — as the article also notes, and as the Boston Globe reported a few weeks ago, a similar program in Rhode Island has yet to result in a single deportation, because of the program’s strict criteria combined with the small number of illegal immigrants in Rhode Island prisons.

Written by sara

February 6, 2010 at 7:22 am

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