Nicaragua builds prisons with money seized from drug traffickers

Nicaragua builds prisons with money seized from drug traffickers

By Dialogo
October 15, 2014






The Nicaraguan government is using money seized from drug traffickers during Operation Televisa to finance the construction of new prisons, which will help reduce overcrowding.

Prison officials inaugurated the first two detention centers funded with money seized from drug traffickers on September 8 in the municipality of Tipitapa, located 22 kilometers east of the capital of Managua. One is a comprehensive women’s prison, which has a capacity of 250 inmates, the other is a maximum-security facility, which can hold 400 prisoners.

Operation Televisa

Operation Televisa was conducted by the National Civil Police (PNC) on August 20, 2012 along Nicaragua’s border with Honduras, a region known as Las Manos. There, PNC agents seized $9.2 million (USD) in cash they found hidden inside the compartments of six television production trucks that 18 Mexican nationals were attempting to bring to Costa Rica - all under the guise of being journalists for the Televisa
de México network.

In January 2013, a Nicaraguan judge sentenced the 18 Mexicans – 17 men and one woman – to 30 years in prison for money laundering for drug traffickers. An appeals court reduced those sentences to 17 and 18 years in prison, which allows the prisoners to serve their sentences in Mexico.

About $1.8 million (USD) of the money seized in Operation Televisa was used to build the women’s prison, and $2.1 million (USD) was spent on the maximum-security prison. The federal government is also planning on using seized drug money to build another new prison for $2.1 million (USD) and a detention center for prisoners serving their sentences in the municipality of Bluefields in the South Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS) at a cost of $974,000 (USD).

New incarceration model


“Now we can see how the inmates will be able to live, which is nothing like the overcrowding they faced at La Esperanza prison,” said Minister of the Interior Ana Isabel Morales, speaking on the new women’s prison.

It will be largely self-sufficient and will provide inmates the opportunity to learn skills, such as cosmetology, that they can use to reintegrate into civil society when they are released. The facility is equipped with production areas where inmates can make clothing and baked goods, and it also has pig and poultry farms for subsistence food production.

“We’re investing in the provision of care and education so that they can reintegrate into society after serving their terms,” said Marcia Ramírez, a family minister at the prison. “The investment is being made with the same money that’s being seized from the drug trade and it’s being applied towards quality of life, human care and spaces for the social reintegration of women.”

Nicaragua’s Center for Violence Prevention (CEPREV) director Mónica Zalaquett agreed with the approach.

“It’s good that there are better prison conditions for women, who are the major victims of organized crime, given that there are a lot of single mothers who sell drugs at the retail level,” Zalaquett said. “We also need to invest in non-violent forms of masculinity, which is a very important issue for preventing crime.”

Nicaragua’s current prison population totals 10,569 inmates, of which 575 are women and 306 foreigners, according to the federal government.





The Nicaraguan government is using money seized from drug traffickers during Operation Televisa to finance the construction of new prisons, which will help reduce overcrowding.

Prison officials inaugurated the first two detention centers funded with money seized from drug traffickers on September 8 in the municipality of Tipitapa, located 22 kilometers east of the capital of Managua. One is a comprehensive women’s prison, which has a capacity of 250 inmates, the other is a maximum-security facility, which can hold 400 prisoners.

Operation Televisa

Operation Televisa was conducted by the National Civil Police (PNC) on August 20, 2012 along Nicaragua’s border with Honduras, a region known as Las Manos. There, PNC agents seized $9.2 million (USD) in cash they found hidden inside the compartments of six television production trucks that 18 Mexican nationals were attempting to bring to Costa Rica - all under the guise of being journalists for the Televisa
de México network.

In January 2013, a Nicaraguan judge sentenced the 18 Mexicans – 17 men and one woman – to 30 years in prison for money laundering for drug traffickers. An appeals court reduced those sentences to 17 and 18 years in prison, which allows the prisoners to serve their sentences in Mexico.

About $1.8 million (USD) of the money seized in Operation Televisa was used to build the women’s prison, and $2.1 million (USD) was spent on the maximum-security prison. The federal government is also planning on using seized drug money to build another new prison for $2.1 million (USD) and a detention center for prisoners serving their sentences in the municipality of Bluefields in the South Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS) at a cost of $974,000 (USD).

New incarceration model


“Now we can see how the inmates will be able to live, which is nothing like the overcrowding they faced at La Esperanza prison,” said Minister of the Interior Ana Isabel Morales, speaking on the new women’s prison.

It will be largely self-sufficient and will provide inmates the opportunity to learn skills, such as cosmetology, that they can use to reintegrate into civil society when they are released. The facility is equipped with production areas where inmates can make clothing and baked goods, and it also has pig and poultry farms for subsistence food production.

“We’re investing in the provision of care and education so that they can reintegrate into society after serving their terms,” said Marcia Ramírez, a family minister at the prison. “The investment is being made with the same money that’s being seized from the drug trade and it’s being applied towards quality of life, human care and spaces for the social reintegration of women.”

Nicaragua’s Center for Violence Prevention (CEPREV) director Mónica Zalaquett agreed with the approach.

“It’s good that there are better prison conditions for women, who are the major victims of organized crime, given that there are a lot of single mothers who sell drugs at the retail level,” Zalaquett said. “We also need to invest in non-violent forms of masculinity, which is a very important issue for preventing crime.”

Nicaragua’s current prison population totals 10,569 inmates, of which 575 are women and 306 foreigners, according to the federal government.
Just to clarify, it's not federal it's national government and Las Manos is not a region. It is a community that borders with sister country Honduras, Region 1 of Nicaragua is comprised of the departments of Estelí, Somoto and Nuevo Segovia. Within the N.S. department is the municipality of Dipilto and within this municipality is the community of Las Manos. It's good so that the prisoners in La Modelo and La Granja when Tipitapa was moved be better off in the prison system. That is my opinion Everything is very good so that the Nicaraguan people realize what all the money seized from the drug traffickers is being invested in, and also investment in programs to reintroduce the male and female prisoners into society again. It's important, since this way, assassinations stop in the jails of prevention. Federal government?? It's national government or Nicaraguan government. Many women, fall into selling drugs because they have no work, others because they are ignorant and others because it is the easiest way to get money to support their family. And the latter women, because they are lazy, don't like to work and they are the ones who should be arrested. And I think what you are doing is good, but it would be good to find work for them when they get out because society is very cruel, and does not give them work, and they go back to the same thing. Give them enough follow-up while they are adapting. I congratulate you for the good you are doing.


And And just to clarify for Omar Flores that Somoto is not a department in Region 1, the department is called Madriz. Somoto is the capital of the department. Because they're not going to build a rehabilitation center with that money in the RAAN in Nicaragua because it's full of drug users here from children to adults. The police do nothing to those who sell drugs. My comment is that private as well as state universities should give careers to the women who are incarcerated, whose sentences are 5 years or more so they can chose high school or elementary school instruction as needed. It can be paid for out of the money seized from the narcos. It shouldn't be just to build more jails, review the legal code regarding children and adolescents, which gives them a free pass to commit crimes. That is the best that can be done. The prisoners deserve to be in decent places, not in subhuman conditions. May God bless them. IT'S NOT NATIONAL CIVIL POLICE, IT'S JUST NATIONAL POLICE I think this is a very good initiative. Work should also be done on the psychological aspects of these women and men to reduce anger and improve the relationships and communication between members of the family. I don't see the Family Ministry taking on these tasks which also fall to it. All the work and all the achievement garnered against any crime is laudable, but let's not lose focus and keep our eyes on the target, people. As long as true criminals are who end up in those jails and not those criminals who escape or never step foot in them and who like magic their cocaine turns into talcum powder. Mr. Omar Cabeza, more oversight in the police cells there is a lot of inhumane abuse against those people just for having made a mistake or not. It's an outrage what's going on in there. There are innocent people who just because they are poor they're treated like dogs as if they have no children
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