In Honduras, ‘Gangs Effectively Control the Prisons’

In Honduras, ‘Gangs Effectively Control the Prisons’
Inmates inside a prison in Puerto Lempira, Honduras, Feb. 7, 2018 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on prison conditions and criminal justice policy around the world.

Dozens of inmates were killed in a wave of violence that swept across Honduran prisons in recent weeks, as rival gangs staged a series of bloody riots and retaliatory attacks against each other. The country’s penal system has a long history of gang-driven violence, but the recent killings represent a notable uptick, says Eric L. Olson, director of policy at the Seattle International Foundation and a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In an email interview with WPR, he explains why years of government reform efforts have failed to address this issue.

WPR: What are the drivers of prison violence in Honduras? How are rival gangs able to effectively control the country’s prisons?

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