Acapulco: where inmates run the prison

A pre-dawn visit to the city's penitentiary uncovers 19 prostitutes, two peacocks, and 100 plasma TVs

Prisoners at Acapulco’s penitentiary didn’t have time to clean house when more than 500 Mexican police officers paid their residence an unannounced pre-dawn visit last week in order to move 60 inmates to other correctional facilities. In addition to 100 plasma TVs, video games and two bags stuffed with marijuana, the officials also discovered 19 prostitutes, two peacocks and six female inmates in the men’s section. As if the place wasn’t crowded enough, more than 100 cockerels, used for popular cockfights, were found on the premises, as well as two peacocks—described as “pets” by Guerrero state spokesman Arturo Martinez.

Acapulco is in the midst of a violent crime wave as rival drug gangs battle for control of the area. Recently, a human rights commission accused the prison, along with others in the state, of being controlled by inmates. It isn’t alone. In July, detainees in the Cereso Hermosillo jail in Sonora state were caught selling $15 raffle tickets for a one-in-200 chance of using a cell fitted out with air conditioning, a full kitchen including appliances, as well as a comfortable bed and even a private toilet.

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