Prison Conditions in Mexico

Mexico’s prison system is characterized by massive overcrowding, deteriorating physical facilities, poorly trained and vastly underpaid guards and other prison officials, system-wide corruption, and, most fundamentally, lack of money. One positive feature, however, includes the extent to which prisoners’ families are a part of prison life, allowing prisoners a role in parenting and day to day family decisions, helping reduce tensions in the prison and easing transition to the outside. But much needs to be done, especially steps which could be taken immediately to alleviate overcrowding without costly investments in infrastructure: informing pre-trial detainees of their right to post bail; speeding up trials and appeals; and reviewing judicial sentence structures to be sure that sentences are appropriate for crimes.