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A watch tower stands empty inside Litoral Penitentiary, Guayaquil, Ecuador, July 22, 2021. A watch tower stands empty inside Litoral Penitentiary, Guayaquil, Ecuador, July 22, 2021 (AP photo by Dolores Ochoa).

Reforming Latin America’s Overcrowded Prisons Won’t Be Easy

Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021

BOGOTA, Colombia—Ecuador made international headlines on Sept. 28, when a brutal prison riot left at least 119 inmates dead and more than 80 injured. The details of the uprising at the Litoral penitentiary in Guayaquil, on the Ecuadorian coast, were particularly gruesome, with images emerging of dismembered bodies and reports of inmates armed with chainsaws.

second riot at the same penitentiary on Nov. 11 left another 60 dead. Nearly 300 prisoners have died in gang-related violence in Ecuadorian prisons this year, making it the deadliest on record.  ...

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