Massacre in Honduras: the prison crisis worsens

On Sunday, December 22, a riot was presented in a prison in the Central American country.

Man in prison with his hands on the fence.

Man in prison with his hands on the fence. / Photo: Pexels - Reference Image

LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza

Listen to this article

Leer en español: Masacre en Honduras: se agrava la crisis carcelaria

Honduras faces an escalation of prison violence that reveals the prison system crisis. On Sunday, December 22, there was a riot that left 19 dead, after two days before another similar event occurred that left another 18 people dead.

The events were presented at El Porvenir prison and the spokesman for the National Inter-Institutional Security Force (Fusina), Lieutenant José Coello, explained that in addition to the casualties, two people were injured by the confrontation that involved “firearms and sharps".

According to Univisón, the prison where the altercation took place "is a minimum-security prison located in the Syria Valley, municipality of El Porvenir, department of Francisco Morazán, 72 miles (116 kilometers) from Tegucigalpa."

According to the information known so far, while the prisoners were eating, a group of prisoners attacked the rest with knives and machetes. Fusina reported to the local press that the confrontation occurred between criminal gangs.

Read also: There where human rights violations in Chile, says UN

What is happening with the Honduran prison system?

Overcrowding in prisons in Honduras has been multiplying. It is estimated that there are 20 thousand people in prisons when they have a capacity of 8 thousand prisoners. This has brought bad health and hygiene conditions. Even according to information from human rights organizations, inside the prisons the prisoners have firearms

Given this situation, since 2017 a process of modernization of the system has been carried out. However, so far the problem has not been solved and evidence of them are the two massacres of the last week.

The prison situation can only be described as worrisome since according to data obtained by the BBC, in 2019 there were 57 deaths inside the prisons throughout the country and 46 have occurred in this month of December. Only this weekend, there were 37 deaths.

Also read: The "false positives" scandal: a long and perverse history in Colombia

The serious situation led Juan Orlando Hernández, president of Honduras, to declare a state of emergency for six months for the prison system. Among the measures implied by this state of emergency is the replacement of the civil leaders of the prisons by a commission led by police and military.