At the end of June, several sources reported an alarming increase in infections and deaths from COVID-19 in prisons in Mexico, with 23 states of the country presenting cases.
The organization AsíLegal reported, through the COVID-19 Penitentiary Map, that up to that date they had already registered 718 people deprived of their liberty and 119 custodians confirmed cases, as well as 102 deaths in the prison population and 27 in prison staff. It warned of a “continuous increase” since the start of the pandemic, due to the lack of measures in the prison system to prevent outbreaks.
The same organization also recorded 16 violent incidents in prisons in the country with causes related to the health emergency: three in Chiapas, two in CDMX, Colima and Edomex, and with an incident in Guanajuato, Tabasco, Oaxaca, Puebla, Michoacan, Chihuahua and Veracruz.
AsíLegal also reported that 3,625 releases were granted, a figure that “increases slowly despite the mechanisms for early release of the prison population at risk or with the recently approved Amnesty Law.”
It reiterated that it is still urgent to reverse the conditions of overcrowding, and sanitation in the prison system. It also urged the authorities to redouble efforts in favor of this population and to seek measures that may allow a new, safe normality.
For its part and according to its count, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) confirmed that it has registered 656 confirmed coronavirus cases, 252 suspects and 103 deaths. Despite the slight difference with the AsíLegal data, the figure shows an acceleration in the lethality caused by the virus, as just two weeks earlier the number of deaths was 68.
For more information in Spanish:
Muertes en cárceles se triplicaron en mayo, en medio de emergencia por COVID (Animal Político, 1ero de julio de 2020)
Semáforo penitenciario en rojo: Contabilizan 131 muertes por Covid-19 en cárceles (SDP Noticias, 30 de junio de 2020)
Suman 625 casos de COVID-19 en cárceles de México (Enterate, 30 de junio de 2020)
For more information from SIPAZ:
National: Commission to Implement Amnesty Law Created (June 22, 2020)
National: “Due to Cuts and Bureaucracy, Amnesty Law Hasn’t Been Applied to or Benefitted any Prisoner” – Animal Politico(June 17, 2020)
National: Calls on Federal and State Authorities to Take Special Measures to Prevent Spread of Coronavirus in Prisons (March 25, 2020)