Deadly Chile prison fire puts heat on Latin America's crowded jails
The Chile fire, started by rioting prisoners, has drawn fresh attention to the poor conditions, lack of guards, and gang violence rampant in Latin American jails.
The debate over prison reform in Chile comes as the Transnational Institute and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) released a report on overcrowding in prisons in eight Latin American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay. The report argues that one contributing factor to crowded conditions is drug policy, which punishes low-level traffickers while doing little to stem drug use or trafficking.
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