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Prisiones e Internados: Una Comparación de los Establecimientos Penales en América del Norte y América Latina. (Imprisonment and Internment: Comparing Penal Facilities in the Americas)

By CH Birkbeck


Recent references to the “warehouse prison” in the United States and the “prisión-depósito” in Latin America seem to indicate that penal confinement in the Western Hemisphere has converged on a similar model. However, this article suggests otherwise. It contrasts penal facilities in North America and Latin America in terms of six interrelated aspects: regimentation, surveillance, isolation, supervision, accountability and formalisation. Quantitatively, control in North American penal facilities is assiduous (unceasing, persistent and intrusive), while in Latin America it is perfunctory (sporadic, indifferent and cursory). Qualitatively, North American penal facilities produce imprisonment (which enacts penal intervention through confinement), while in Latin America they produce internment (which enacts penal intervention through release). Closely entwined with this qualitative difference are distinct practices of judicial involvement in sentencing and penal supervision. Those practices, and the cultural and political forces that underpin them, represent an interesting starting point for the explanation of the contrasting nature of imprisonment and internment

Topics: HM, other
Publisher: Editorial Catalonia
Year: 2009
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