Investing in prison statistics in Latin America and the Caribbean, an urgent issue

May 17, 2022. Between 2000 and 2020 the prison population rate has risen 71% in the Americas. This and other data were presented during the side event “If we want to improve prison systems, we need statistics” organized within the framework of the 31st session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), held between 16-20 May of this year.

The side event organized by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico –known as INEGI– and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) of this country, was attended by Maurice Dunaiski, UNODC Researcher; Salomé Flores Sierra Franzoni, Coordinator of the UNODC-INEGI Center of Excellence; and Oscar Jaimes Bello, General Director of Statistics of Government, Security and Justice of INEGI. The Ambassador of Mexico in Austria, Luis Campuzano, opened the event highlighting the importance of having quality data to provide evidence for decision-making processes.

Under the moderation of Adrian Franco, Vice President of the Board of Governors of INEGI, who oversees the National Subsystem of Information on Government, Public Security and Justice Administration, the latest global trends on the size of the prison population as well as the report of indicator 16.3.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which refers to the number of persons deprived of liberty without a sentence, were shared through Mr. Dunaiski.

Ms. Flores Sierra highlighted the importance of the Tokyo Rules, the Bangkok Rules and the Nelson Mandela Rules as guidelines approved by the United Nations General Assembly that can guide the generation of statistical information to monitor the management of prison systems, respect for the human rights of persons deprived of their liberty, due process, and social reintegration policies. Finally, she shared the analysis of the capacities of the countries of the region to generate information on prisons, which will be published in 2023 within the Statistical Conference of the Americas of ECLAC.

The session ended with the intervention of Mr. Jaimes Bello who shared INEGI’s good practices in the generation of information on the penitentiary system, specifically the National Survey of Population Deprived of Liberty (ENPOL) and the National Government Censuses.


More information:

Decade of Action: Gender in the criminal justice system

UNODC Gender-Related Judicial Integrity Issues

Data Matters 1 – Prison Population: Global Trends

National Census of State Government, Public Security and Penitentiary System 2020, INEGI

National Survey of Population Deprived of Liberty (ENPOL) 2021, INEGI