Children of the jail


More than three hundred children grow up inside the prison in a region known as the Northern Triangle of Central America, where the majority of prisons are overcrowded and abandoned to the control of inmates. In the last decade, the number of female prisoners has tripled and even multiplied by six in Guatemala. The emergence of the crime of extortion – a threat to obtain money – had a decisive influence. Although, the majority of prisoners convicted of that crime fulfilled the lowest role on the extortion scale: collection.


In the past five years, the number of children has doubled in all three countries. But the penitentiary systems of Honduras and Guatemala delegated the food, education and medicine, toys and diapers of children to NGOs, because they are not technically prisoners. El Salvador did choose to pay for the basic rights of the majority of minors, but its restrictive policy of isolating gang members led to the absolute confinement of six children in a maximum-security prison. The three governments signed an international agreement to provide decent conditions for children, but they do not comply.