Hathazy, Paul, and Markus-Michael Müller. “The crisis of detention and the politics of denial in Latin America.” International Review of the Red Cross 98, no. 903 (2016), 889-916. doi:10.1017/s1816383117000558.

picture credit to Meridith Kohut

The article evaluates the conduct of officials and the corruption involved violation human rights. The article uses many statistics in comparing the prison rates from ten years ago. The article is broken up into four clear sections and then subcategorized with a clean presentation. They also addresses possible solutions. The research that has been done was through and with reference to many countries and they expanded on the area with a slight focus on Mexico and Chile rather than with Hathazy’s focus on Argentina. The intended audience could be academics further looking into this issue or people finding support for a possible policy paper. The background of Paul Hathazy is working in Argentina’s working at the Center for the Study of Culture and Society, Universidad Nacional de Cordoba. He specializes in the social determinants and effects of legitimate violence through comparative and historical methods, with a PhD. from UC Berkeley. Markus-Michael Müller is a political science professor with a focus on Latin America in Berlin with a PhD. In Political Science from Free University of Berlin.


The authors focus on overpopulation in the prison system in Latin American countries arguing that the governments are violating human rights. Three main issues that they state are overpopulation, informality in governance, and political denial of the issue. The informalities have led to the prisons being controlled by the inmates. Politicians deflect their responsibilities onto the prisoners and the prison system itself, denying the issue for their gain and benefit.  There has been an ironic correlation that as democratization grew in Latin American countries, the population of the inmates grew as well. Through the work of human rights activists and cooperative governments, policy changes were made and can continue to grow. Countries that are focused on and mentioned are Brazil, Mexico, Chile, El Salvador, Belize, Cuba, Panama, Peru, and Argentina.

The source has potential importance for other research I will do working on governments of Latin America and reflecting how the “democratic governments” are taking care of their prisoners. It is interesting to see the connections between democratization and a rise in prison population. The article is interesting to read about what happens to people thrown into the prison system and how they are being helped.

I chose this image because it was apart of the international attempt to bring awareness to the issue in Latin America. This photo is taken from an El Salvador Prison by Meridith Kohut.

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