Delegate Name: Lauren Ye
The delegation of Mexico recognizes the critical issue of radicalization and violent extremism in prisons. These ideas formed during a prisoner’s incarceration not only affect the safety of prisoners and guards within the prison, these prisoners also pose a threat when they are released from prison and reintegrated into society. Prisons are a source of violent extremism, and this mainly results from the environment within the prison, whether it be the physical conditions of the prison or the prisoners in it.
In 2016, Mexico had 247,001 total prisoners in the prison system, with the incarceration rate being 204 per 100,000 inhabitants. Even though the death penalty was abolished in Mexico in 2005, 65% of Mexico’s prison population is run by gangs, and conflicts between these gangs result in many deaths. In 2014, the National Human Rights Commission reported more than 2,400 complaints of torture in Mexico’s prisons alone. The “self-government” of gangs in these prisons is practiced in 71 prisons and creates violence and mistreatment. Prisoners in power use violence to take over spaces, obtain weapons, and profit from certain rights such as calls, visits, and using the toilets. The causes of this are overcrowding, lack of staff, and low staff salaries. Many prisoners feel joining these gangs is a way to stay alive and healthy while incarcerated. 82% of violent incidents in prisons in Mexico were between inmates. The physical conditions of the prisons also contribute to violent extremism. The main cause of overcrowding in prisons is the abuse of pre-trial detention. 31 penitentiaries closed in 2013 due to poor infrastructure, overcrowding, and violence. Along with corruption and violence, these prisons also have poor access to food and healthcare. Terrorism within prisons stems from poor management and conditions of prisons, which leads to the formation of “self-government”, and eventually results in the radicalization and violent extremism of inmates.
Mexico strongly believes in reforming the prison system so as to prevent these violent ideologies from forming inside prisons. This can be done through rehabilitation programs, social and psychological support, and education. Mexico supports the implementation of the Mandela Rules in prison. These rules emphasize the need for humane treatment of prisoners and rehabilitation and reintegration into society. Mexico also supports the use of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. This strategy not only condemns any way, shape, or form of terrorism, but it also resolves to take steps to prevent and counter terrorism. The strategy highlights the importance of addressing the conditions that lead to the spread of terrorism in prisons, including social and economic marginalization, political exclusion, and human rights violations. Mexico acknowledges that this issue is not an issue that one country can solve alone and that countries must work together to ensure this issue is resolved. These policies must be strongly enforced throughout the prison system. This is crucial to ensure that the prison system does not remain a breeding ground for terrorism and violent ideologies that threaten society.