Justice in Mexico

Schwarzenegger proposes prisons in Mexico

In response to California’s budget crises and the crowded prison system, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger suggested building prisons in Mexico in order to hold around 20 thousand undocumented Mexican nationals detained in California. His proposal was viewed favorably by the mayor of Ciudad Juárez, José Reyes Ferriz. However, José Luis Canales de la Vega, the Governor’s representative for the locality of Ciudad Juarez, noted that Mexico’s Federal government would have to analyze it more thoroughly, since it is a delicate topic.

This past Monday, Schwarzenegger announced his interest in sending funds to the Mexican government in order to build prisons where they would be able to detain undocumented immigrants for immigration crimes.

Under such a model, the prisons that are constructed in Mexico would receive at least 19 thousand individuals from California whose charges were considered minor offenses.

José Reyes Ferriz deemed it a very interesting proposal that could bring additional resources to this locality. He also added that in previous reunions in North American conventions, some prison operators planted a similar scheme, but in which foreign prisoners would be received in Mexican facilities. He also said that in order to give the proposal a good look they would first have to examine the costs implied.

He explained that state governments pay, on average, sixty dollars a day for every detainee, some seven hundred and seventy-one pesos at the current price, while in Juarez inmate maintenance is about six dollars a day or seventy-eight pesos.

At the same time, Canales de la Vega noted that what was planted by Schwarzenegger must be analyzed independent of the profits or losses that the measure could bring to Mexico, because getting rid of people due to overpopulation of prisons in California and the lack of resources could bring unintended consequences, negative and positive.


Chaparro, Ramón, Alberto Ponce de León. “Busca Schwarzenegger crear cárceles de EU en México”. El Diario. January 26, 2010.

AFP. “California enviaría reos a México, Schwarzenegger sugirió hacer cárcel allí.” Univision. January 26, 2010.

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