Saturday, November 27

The 6 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean where the number of prisoners doubles, triples and even quadruples the capacity of prisons

  • Veronica Smink
  • BBC News World, Southern Cone

Prisoners in a prison in El Salvador during a review, in 2020

Image source, Getty Images


El Salvador has the highest per capita prisoner rate in Latin America and the Caribbean, but several countries have even more overcrowded prisons.

The recent prison massacre in Ecuador – the worst in the history of that country, which left at least 119 dead – has once again put the spotlight on the problem of prison overcrowding.

Many experts have highlighted that the prison occupancy rate in Ecuador, from 133%, was one of the factors that triggered the tragedy.

The 52 Ecuadorian prisons house more than 39,000 inmates, about 10,000 more than can fit, according to official prison capacity figures.

The riot in Guayaquil was the third to be recorded in an Ecuadorian prison so far in 2021, after those that occurred in February and July, which left 79 and 22 dead, respectively.

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