National: One Third of Deceased in Prison in 2020 Was Innocent 

@La Silla Rota

2020 was a deadly year for people in prison in Mexico. The number of admissions to prisons increased and the number of discharges was the lowest for a decade, which meant that deaths of inmates also increased. “In the first year of the pandemic – between March 2020 and April 2021 – 1,444 imprisoned people died. Of these, 326 deceased were in preventive detention, which reveals that practically one in three people killed in prison during the pandemic was innocent, as it had not yet been proven that they had committed a crime.”

This increase in the prison population began in 2019 with the approval of the reforms that expanded the crimes of automatic preventive detention, promoted by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, according to Animal Politico.

“Last year 108,655 people were admitted to all federal and local prisons, while discharges were only 91,635, according to INEGI data, the lowest figure so far this century. This meant that the gap between ingoing and outgoing was 17,020 inmates in total.”

According to specialists from Intersecta, one of the phenomena that explains this difference is the political decisions that were taken during the pandemic: the control judges responsible for issuing preventive prisons continued to function almost completely normally, but activities by judges who give the green light for releases were stopped for several weeks.

“In Mexico, 300 people are imprisoned every day, which has already led to the fastest growth in the prison population in 15 years.” But this number does not indicate that impunity has been abated or violence stopped. In reality, those who are in jail are people accused of petty theft or drug dealing, who were sent to prison while the investigation is underway and they are being prosecuted, reports Animal Politico. They detain people in a vulnerable economic situation and people who have a high school education or less.

Women have been the most affected: “the incarceration of women has grown at twice the rate of what occurs with men. Today it is already the highest number of women imprisoned without a sentence, than that of those who were proven guilty and have a conviction.”

Jailing prior to proving the crimes is a measure that should only be the exception, but informal preventive detention is the rule today.

For more information in Spanish:

Uno de cada tres fallecidos en prisión durante la pandemia era inocente(EDUCA, 29 de octubre de 2021)

Morir en la cárcel: uno de cada tres fallecidos en prisión en 2020 era inocente(Animal Político, 26 de octubre de 2021)

prisión preventiva: el arma que encarcela pobres e inocentes (Animal Político, 26 de octubre de 2021)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Yonny Ronay, Tortured and Framed, Clear Example of Injustice and Corruption of Mexican Penal System (September 25, 2021)

National: AMLO Announces Decree to Release the Unsentenced, Tortured and Elderly (August 3, 2021)

Chiapas: Frayba Discussion – Factory of the Guilty, Torture in Mexico (June 28, 2021)

National: Prisons Still on COVID-19 Alert (September 3, 2020)

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