Overcrowded prison conditions and the vicious rivalries between gangs produced a deadly riot Friday in one of El Salvador's prisons. The BBC has the report:
At least 21 inmates have been killed in a riot at a maximum-security prison in El Salvador. Security forces have now regained control of the Apanteos jail, near Santa Ana, 66km (41 miles) west of the capital, San Salvador. The riot broke out on Friday when a member of the infamous Mara 18 gang began fighting a guard, sparking battles between hundreds of inmates.
The jail holds 2,000 inmates, some of them the most dangerous in the country....
After the argument between the gang member and the guard, rival gang members began fighting among themselves with makeshift weapons such as shovels and pieces of broken masonry. Hundreds of police, soldiers and security guards were deployed to restore order and some inmates have been transferred to other jails.
Prisons in Central America are often overcrowded - Apanteos was built to hold 1,800.
This prison riot was the deadliest since an August 2004 riot at La Esperanza (Mariona) prison which killed 31. Little has been done to improve the prison conditions which sparked that confrontation. The BBC also has statistics regarding the incarceration rates and crowding conditions in prison systems throughout Latin America.