This case involves an American citizen who was mistakenly imprisoned by authorities in Mexico on a charge of embezzlement. While in prison, the American citizen was severely beaten, stripped, and starved by the facility guards. The prisoner was subjected to these conditions for 3 weeks before he was released. It was alleged that the American citizen received this treatment in part because of his wealth and citizenship status. An expert in Mexican prisons was sought to comment on the conditions and standard procedures within such facilities.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please briefly describe your familiarity with Mexican prisons.
- 2. How might an inmate's wealth affect his or her experience inside a Mexican prison?
Expert Witness Response E-409027
I am the director of the Center for US and Mexican Law at the University of Houston Law Center, it is the only academic center in the nation and worldwide that compares legislation between Mexico and the US. I have studied prisons in Mexico, France, and Spain, from a comparative law point of view, focused on access to healthcare in prisons. Overall, I’ve focused a large part of my career studying prisons conditions. Technically, an inmate’s wealth should not affect the experience they would have in prisons in Mexico. Unfortunately, the reality is that there are situations in which it changes their experience dramatically. Prison conditions in Mexico do not meet the basic standards set by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. I have reviewed cases of asylum involving law enforcement, kidnapping, and detention in Mexico. I have taught penitentiary legislation courses and have written about prison conditions in Mexico as well.