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Latin America's prisons in critical condition

Rioting inmates stand on the roof of the penitentiary in Cascavel, Parana state, Brazil, on August 25, 2014Latin America’s prisons are overcrowded, violent and sometimes lack even the most basic services, despite the fact that several of the region’s current leaders themselves spent time behind bars. As incarceration rates have soared across the region over the past two decades, Latin America’s jails have become packed, nightmarish facilities where serving time is a battle to survive, rights groups say. In Brazil, whose President Dilma Rousseff was jailed by the former military regime for three years in the 1970s, nearly half of all prisons lack enough beds for their inmates, according to FIO, an umbrella group of watchdogs and rights organizations. Like Brazil, Chile has a leftist president, Michelle Bachelet, who was jailed and tortured by her country’s military regime in the 1970s.

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