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Honduras: Another day, another prison riot

Gun-battling prisoners took over Honduras' San Pedro Sula prison. Experts say they were in control all along.
Honduras san pedro sula prison 2012 05 18Enlarge
An inmate at Honduras' San Pedro Sula prison, which has erupted with riots and gunfights this week. (ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

Rioting inmates have taken control of Honduras’ prison in San Pedro Sula. However, most Hondurans could tell you that the prisoners really had the power to begin with.

On Wednesday, gun-toting prisoners got into a shootout that killed at least one person and injured 10, the BBC reports citing Honduran officials. The report says the city's bishop is trying to negotiate a peaceful outcome between the inmates.

This is the latest sign that violence is escalating in the overcrowded and under-resourced prisons of Central America, and much of the Americas overall.

Sadly, what’s going on in jails mirrors the violence outside them.

“In Latin America one of the overriding features of prisons in many countries is the violence. That violence I would say is a reflection of the violence which exists in many of the communities and civil societies,” Andrew Coyle, professor of prison studies at the UK’s International Center for Prison Studies, tells GlobalPost.

“If you take Central America, the prisons are very violent places, which in many circumstances are actually run by the prisoners themselves,” Coyle adds. “The staff guard the perimeters and leave the prisoners to run the prisons inside.”

Read more on this subcontinent’s jailhouse woes in "Caging in Central America." Also, for a vivid look at the prison problems in more of the Americas, check out the rest of the in-depth series “Encarcelacion."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/news/regions/americas/another-day-another-prison-riot