The crisis of detention and the politics of denial in Latin America

This article assesses the causes of the crisis of detention in Latin America. It is argued that this crisis, which manifests itself in overpopulation of the region's prison systems, deficient infrastructure, prison informality and violence propelled ultimately by political processes, is mostly related to, on the one hand, disastrous human rights conditions inside Latin American prisons, and on other, the political denial of these conditions. This denial produces a state of institutional abandonment that is preserved by the interests of politicians and bureaucrats, who are engaged in denying prison violence and human rights abuses while simultaneously calling for more punishment and imprisonment.

About the authors

Paul Hathazy
National Scientific and Technical Research Council of Argentina

Paul Hathazy is a Researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council of Argentina, working at the Center for the Study of Culture and Society, Universidad Nacional de Cordoba.

Markus-Michael Müller
Freie Universität

Markus-Michael Müller is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the ZI Lateinamerika-Institut, Freie Universitat Berlin.