March 25, 2013

Inside a Mexican Prison Facts

  • Mexico has the largest American prisoner population outside of the United States. In 2001, there were over 600 Americans serving time in Mexican prisons, including 48 in Nuevo Laredo.

  • Nuevo Laredo, Mexico is the largest inland port in the western hemisphere. Around 40% of all U.S.-Mexico trade passes between Nuevo Laredo and its sister city of Laredo, Texas.

  • There are ahalf-dozen major drug cartels operating in Mexico, the largest ones being the Gulf, Sinaloa, and Juarez cartels. The Gulf cartel is said to be present in 13 Mexicanstates.

  • In 2006, Mexican officialslaunched the Northern Border (Frontera Norte) initiative to fight cartel violence along the US-Mexico border, deploying 800 Federal Protective Police (PFP) officers in Nuevo Laredo.

  • Up to 70% of the cocaine and 80% of the methamphetamines sold in the United States are estimated to pass through the 2,000-mile border between the United States and Mexico.

  • In Mexico – as in many countries - female inmates are allowed to keep their young children with them behind bars. In the United States, only a handful of prisons allow the same privilege.

  • Unlike common law countries such as the United States, Mexico is a civil law country, derived from the Napoleonic code and focused on the text of laws rather than previous court decisions.

  • Under the 1977 Prisoner Transfer Treaty between the United States and Mexico, American prisoners in Mexican jails can choose to serve out their sentences in the United States if their crime is recognized by the laws of both countries.

  • Some Americans convicted in Mexico choose to serve out their time in Mexican prisons due to the fact that some crimes carry shorter sentences in Mexico than the United States.

  • The maximum sentence for murder in Mexico is forty years, although in special cases, the sentence can stretch to sixty years. The death penalty has not been applied in Mexico since 1961and was formally abolished in 2005.


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