Honduras leader orders troops into prison after fight, damning report

The military has been ordered to take control of the Penitenciaría Nacional by the president of Honduras.

Story highlights

  • Honduras' president orders troops to take control of the national penitentiary
  • This follows a fight there that, a report says, left three dead and 15 wounded
  • A report claims inmates have "internal control" of all nation's prisons

Honduras' president ordered troops to take control of a prison on Saturday, a day after a report claimed that inmates have "internal control" over all of the country's prisons.

President Porfirio Lobo said the military would go into the Penitenciaría Nacional, or National Penitentiary, following a confrontation there. The Ser Honduras news service reported that three died and 15 were wounded in clashes earlier Saturday.

The news came after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in a report Friday, said that all control at Honduras' 24 prisons "has been ceded into the hands of the prisoners themselves."

In 2012: At least 13 dead in Honduran prison fire

Due in part to limited staffing, inmates practice "self-government" or "shared government" at the detention facilities -- a system that includes administering punishment, resolving conflicts and distributing and setting food prices, according to the report.

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An officer in command at one prison, San Pedro Sula, said that prison authorities "have no power to change anything," according to the multinational organization.

Honduran prisons have been criticized for being overcrowded places with poor conditions. The International Centre for Prison Studies, citing February 2010 figures, has said that the country's prisons were operating at 137.9% of capacity.

The commission report noted that at least two prisons had more than twice as many inmates as they should hold.

In 2012: Nasty, harsh, overcrowded: Life in a Honduran prison