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Report: Mexico's women's prisons rife with abuses, extortion

Published:Monday | March 30, 2015 | 11:01 PM


Women's prisons in Mexico are often overcrowded and run by mafias, with inmates suffering extortion, sexual abuse and sometimes even forced prostitution, according to a report released on the weekend.

Mexico's autonomous National Human Rights Commission looked at conditions in 77 of the 102 prisons that house 12,690 women.

It highlighted deficiencies in food, hygiene, medical attention and child-care. Women also suffered mistreatment, sexual abuse and had to pay for "protection" by organised crime-linked "parallel governments" that were sometimes run by male prisoners in the men's part of the penitentiary.

Report findings

It said that in 51 of the prisons studied some women had to sleep on the floor among cockroaches and rats. In 20 prisons, women were forced to prostitute themselves. This was in contrast to better-off female inmates who had access to private cells, plasma televisions, refrigerators, microwaves ovens and mobile phones.

The commission said that a serious problem in the female prisons was self-rule by inmates, with gangs controlling cell space, privileges, conjugal visits, carrying out punishments and demanding extortion payments.

The report said that in 65 of the prisons it observed deficiencies not seen in men's prisons. The commission urged authorities to fix the problems and end the discriminatory treatment the women suffer.