Tamaulipas Government Taking Back Control of Overcrowded Prison
REYNOSA, Mex. – A Mexican prison 15 minutes from the international bridge in Hidalgo is getting revamped in administration.
A CHANNEL 5 NEWS photographer had the opportunity to get a rare look inside the facility on Wednesday.
The Tamaulipas state government said they’re taking back control of the Reynosa Penitentiary by closing secret tunnels and enforcing rules.
The Reynosa prison houses inmates charged with state and federal crimes in Mexico. Armed guards can be seen patrolling the outside and inside of the overcrowded facility.
Isidoro Cruz, assistant director at the penitentiary, said the prison housed 2,500 inmates not long ago. He said it was almost double the capacity.
“This center was designed and built for 1,400 inmates. We have 100 percent overcrowding. Today we have 1,570 inmates,” he said.
Cruz said the high number of inmates made it hard for authorities to control the population. He said they’ve since started transferring prisoners to other facilities to ease the burden.
During the process, Cruz said they made several discoveries.
“We discovered two types of underground storage and we found makeshift weapons and alcohol. The storage was to hide that stuff,” he said.
The underground bunker was filled in. The same happened to a hiding spot where officials said they found rifle magazines hidden in the dirt.
Cruz said more than 30 inmates are not Mexican nationals. The U.S. citizens are behind bars mostly due to drug and weapon charges.
“The majority of foreigners are from the United States. Most of them are from here, from the Valley of Texas,” he said.
Regardless, Cruz said all inmates are being held responsible for their actions inside the prison.
“Now, they have to understand they are inmates who need to follow rules and, at the end, all the rules are for their benefit,” the prison director said.
Authorities said they want the public to see the changes to send a message that chaos at the facility will no longer be tolerated.