Official Crime Figures Do Not Add Up

In the past year, the country’s prison population increased by almost 9,000 inmates, 70% of them connected to drug trafficking. However, this statistic contrasts with the arrests of the suspected drug traffickers reported by the government and does not reflect the prison statistics.

According to figures from the federal Undersecretary of the Penitentiary System of the Ministry of Public Security (SSP), during the current administration more than 19,000 people have become inmates. Not all of these recent inmates face charges of drug trafficking. Meanwhile the agencies responsible for combating organized crime reported over 80,000 arrests, demonstrating a significant gap.

Crimes linked to drug trafficking fall under federal jurisdiction, however, the increase in the prison population outside of federal jurisdiction does not coincide with the more than 80,000 reported arrests either. Statistics from the federal SSP, Decentralized Administrative Organ  of Social Rehabilitation (OADRS), indicate that at the beginning of this administration there were 47,000 prisoners, and the most recent court (July) establishes that the prison population outside of federal jurisdiction is 51,577 inmates. With that said, there has been an increase of 4,577 in just over three years.

The overall prison statistics do not reflect the 80,000 arrests resulting from fighting organized crime either. The current prison population is 229,900 inmates, and according to the OADRS, at the beginning of the administration it was 210,143.


González, María de la Luz. “Cifras delictivas oficiales no cuadran.” El  Universal, November 17, 2009.

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