To visit the captives, 9 out of 10 families travel up to a thousand kilometers

Sokoro’s daughter has been in prison for three years after being accused of participating in a kidnapping. A few days after her arrest, the woman was sent to the Federal Center for Social Reintegration (Cefreso) 16 in Morelos, where she remained without judgment.

Since arriving at this place he has not received any visit. Socorro tried to save a few pesos and go visit her “in and out” but that’s impossible. “I either go see her or feed her children,” says the 62-year-old.

After her daughter’s arrest, Sokoro was left in the care of her two grandchildren: a 10-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy. From being the grandmother who took care of them while her mother went to work, she became the financial person in charge of the house, in addition to the fact that her duties as a caregiver doubled.

She says washing and ironing other people’s clothes is how she was able to get money so that she and her grandchildren wouldn’t lack a plate of food. When he doesn’t really have the peso, he asks for support from one of his sons who immigrated to the United States.

“He supports me by sending a few cents, but not like before,” Sokoro shares.

Thus, with a few pesos in the bag to get something, leaving her hometown, in Veracruz, and going to visit her daughter in Morelos is not a priority.

to me Report on the situation of private prisons in Mexico Conducted by México Evalúa y Documenta, 91% of relatives of persons deprived of their liberty live in a federal center in a state different from that in which the prison is located, and to visit their relatives must travel up to 1,557 kilometers.

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This situation conflicts with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, which states that “prisoners should, as far as possible, be held in correctional institutions close to their home or place of social reintegration,” which has led to the fact that according to the report, 41% of Inmates in federal prisons never receive a visit.

Relatives of 16% of people deprived of their liberty in these federal centers who receive visits once a year spend up to 1,500 pesos on tickets and meals.

For the preparation of this report, México Evalúa and Documenta suggested interviewing the inmates of these prisons, however, due to the health emergency caused by COVID-19, it was decided to apply it to their relatives. The exercise involved 218 families of persons deprived of their liberty in seven of the eight operational CPSs.

As part of the results, they also note other types of expenses they have to incur so that their relatives can get the minimum of what they need to meet their basic needs, for example, personal hygiene items.

91% of the people surveyed said they make monthly deposits of between 500 and 1,500 pesos. 88% must make these deposits through postal or telegraphic money orders, which means that in addition to the money they send, they must pay commissions and additional fees.

This point is very revealing because it must be remembered that federal prisons are public and private associations (PPPs), however, the lack of regulation of these centers creates spaces for violation of the basic rights of users of the prison system.

Namely, the study shows that with the money their relatives send to them, they use it not only to buy soap so they can take a shower, but also to buy water and food – because they are insufficient or too expensive. Poor quality – as well as to pay for access to medical services, which, in theory, is a right for people deprived of their liberty.

However, one in three people surveyed stated that a loved one is charged for medical service or medication.

“They are not giving them the right medicine that they need. As a family member, I bring him his medicine, but even so, they put many conditions for them to accept it, plus it takes more than 3 months for them to be delivered. So, if the medicine is the one that We buy it, it’s because they don’t give it to them inside,” says a relative of a woman imprisoned at Cefereso 16 in Morelos.

“They told us that next week we would see if it was actually authorized, as if we live near a prison and have money to pay for everything they want. Three months ago I went to TV and got the medicines my mother needed and so far the day it hasn’t been done. Hand it over to her,” the relative said in the testimony included in the report.

As part of the analysis carried out with the help of annual reports published by the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) on the conditions of these places, “inadequate or lack of frankness in work, training and educational activities – though it has improved over time, according to the reports of the National Council for Human Rights” – It indicates the degree of neglect with which the Mexican state began to provide these services to people deprived of their liberty in Cefereso, as stated in the report.

“The failures and shortcomings of Cefereso (…) are not entirely attributable to the work of the private initiative, but rather occur in the provision of services and programs that are also the responsibility of the state. A possible explanation may be related to the ambiguity of state authorities in this type of position, because the introduction of a A third actor – a private initiative – completely changes the relationship between a person deprived of liberty and the government,” the document states.

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Ten years after the inception of the PPP model – which sought to improve the conditions in which people deprived of their liberty are kept – it is important to stress that despite the fact that it was announced in April 2021 that it is a result of negotiations between government and private companies Responsible for these spaces, it was agreed on a 15% reduction in payments to be paid to companies, and that at the end of the contract, ownership of the facilities would pass to the state, there is still a lot waiting.

This report indicates that one of the most important is to be able to know the general version of the service provision contracts that aim to build and operate these penal centers with complete transparency.

“Specifically, it is appropriate to know the obligations of companies with regard to health services, access to water and food services, as well as the provision of cultural, educational and labor activities. In the same way, the publication of contracts for the provision of services would allow to know the powers and responsibilities of the state in the administration of Cefereso “, Organizations also recommend.

Likewise, they considered that the Supreme Audit Office of the Federation (ASF) and the Secretariat of Public Service should attract investigation into some of the reported aspects, because despite the correct operation and management of these centers in the hands of private agents, these entities have the power to audit them.

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