Colombia: Prison Fire Kills At Least 51

    Photo: AP [via The Washington Post]

    The Facts

    • On Tues., prison officials announced that at least 51 people were killed and 26 injured in a prison fire in the southwestern City of Tulua, Colombia

    • Sources in Colombia's National Penitentiary Institute (INPEC) said that a fight between inmates escalated into a riot where inmates began setting fire to mattresses.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    This isn't the first fatal incident to occur in one of Colombia's overcrowded prisons and shows how much the country needs prison reform. Colombia has historically treated incarceration as a form of revenge, and President-elect Gustavo Petro must re-shape the prison system into one of rehabilitation.

    Narrative B

    The deaths that occurred as a result of this fire are no doubt tragic, and Colombia's prisons certainly need reform. However, to achieve this Colombia must recognize that, although prisons may have their own internal ecosystems and rules, they are inextricably linked to outside problems - such as drug trafficking. These exterior problems must be addressed first.

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