Security & Strategic Review - April 2022

ECUADOR: Steps to address the prisons crisis

After 2021 saw the worst prison violence in Ecuador’s history, efforts are underway to bring the situation back under control – spurred, perhaps, by the release of a highly critical report from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on 17 March. The government’s strategy is to reduce overcrowding by releasing swathes of less dangerous inmates, while simultaneously bolstering the ranks of prison guards. These steps may go someway to resolving endemic prison violence, but the root causes of the violence are outside of prison walls, in the spiralling gang war for control of drug trafficking operations in the country.

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