Prisons in the Americas in the Twenty-First Century

Prisons in the Americas in the Twenty-First Century : A Human Dumping Ground

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This volume on penitentiary systems in the Americas offers a long-overdue look at the prisons that exist at the forefront of the ongoing struggle against drugs and violence throughout North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean. From Haiti to Bolivia, the authors examine the conditions in these systems, and allow several common themes to emerge, including the alarming prevalence of lengthy pre-trial detention and the often abysmal living conditions in these institutions. Taken together, this comprises the first comparative overview of the use and abuse of prisons in the Americas.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 258 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 25.4mm | 566.99g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 11 Graphs; 12 Tables, unspecified; 3 Charts
  • 0739191357
  • 9780739191354

Review quote

This book provides a groundbreaking and greatly-needed comparative analysis of prisons in Latin America. Although they are the scene of the region's most pervasive human rights violations and biggest failure of their criminal justice systems, prisons have long been an overlooked area of study. This book fills a critical gap in the study of justice, rights, and governance in Latin America. -- Mark Ungar, Graduate Center, City University of New York Prisons in the Americas in the Twenty First Century: Human Dumping Ground provides an insightful and in-depth look at the region's prison crisis, fueled by mano duro, or hardline, approaches to addressing drug and gang issues. Providing a sweeping overview of incarceration in countries across the region, the contributors to this volume document the ways in which excessively harsh laws and disproportionate sentencing policies have led to dramatic levels of overcrowding and inhumane and often violent conditions in prisons which, more often than not, serve as a breeding ground for criminal activity. This book is a must-read for those who want to understand incarceration in the Americas today and for policymakers grappling with the obstacles and opportunities for prison and drug law reform. -- Coletta A. Youngers, Senior Fellow, The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) With chilling anecdotes and alarming data the authors highlight the mess that prisons have become in the Americas. Not only have they become a human dumping ground filled with thousands of likely innocent young people, but they have become a key element in the criminal enterprise contributing to crime and violence on the outside from the relative safety of prisons under the control of criminals. The book is a final argument on the failings of the war on drugs and the inefficiency of iron-fisted approaches to crime fighting. Prisons are a reflection of the collapse of the penal justice system in much of the Americas and the cry out for reform. Fortunately, this volume provides us with a good diagnosis of the problem as well as some refreshing ideas about how to fix a broken system. -- Eric L. Olson, Associate Director, Latin American Program, Woodrow Wilson Center
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About Jonathan D. Rosen

Jonathan D. Rosen is research professor at the Institute of International Studies at the Universidad del Mar, Mexico. Marten Brienen teaches political science at Oklahoma State University.
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Table of contents

Ch 1: General Trends in Prisons in the Americas, Astrid Arraras and Emily D. Bello-Pardo North America Ch 2. Broken Systems: Prisons and Prison Gangs in California and the United States, Susan Phillips and Jonathan D. Rosen Ch 3: The Penitentiary System in Mexico: An Institution Permeated by Corruption and Controlled by Organized Crime, Roberto Zepeda Martinez Central America Ch 4: Drugs, Crime, and Prisons in Guatemala, Tamara Rice Lave The Caribbean Ch 5: Haiti: Prisons, Organized Crime, and Drug Trafficking, Christa L. Remington & Jean-Claude Garcia-Zamor Ch 6: Retribution vs. Reintegration: The Trinidad and Tobago Reality, Dianne Williams and Randy Seepersad The Andean Region Ch 7: An Organized Chaos: Venezuela's Prison Crisis, Brian Fonseca and Pamela Pamela Ch 8: Drugs and Prisons: the Slippery Road to the Criminalization of Drugs in Ecuador, Adrian Bonilla and Nashira Chavez Ch 9: A Special Kind of Hell: The Bolivian Penal, System Marten W. Brienen Ch 10: Drugs and the Prison Crisis in Peru, Lucia Dammert and Manuel Dammert Guardia The Southern Cone Ch 11: Beyond Overcrowding: the Decline of the Brazilian Penitentiary System, Marcelo Rocha e Silva Zorovich Ch 12: The Drug-Crime-Prison Nexus: What the U. S. Experience Suggests to Argentina, Khatchik DerGhougassian and Sebastian Cutrona An International Solution Ch 13: Prison Reform: An International Solution, W. Andy Knight
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