Our prisons, somehow, are getting more violent

I don’t like to let too much time pass on this blog between reminders of the premiere human rights issue in Venezuela today. Fourteen months after the creation of the new Prisons Ministry, how’s Iris Varela’s humanization drive going?

Not good. 304 people died in Venezuela’s jails in the first half of 2012, a rise of 15% on the same period in 2011. By contrast, “just” 476 died in the whole of 2010.

No new jails have been brought into the chronically overburdened system, and the most significant prison reform we’ve seen this year is a de facto ban on live TV coverage of prison riots.