Drugs and Prisons in Mexico

9 July 2010
Washington Office on Latin America

In this video interview, Rosa Julia Leyva Martinez tells the story of how she became a victim of the Mexican government's use of increasingly heavy prison sentences and militarised drug policies to combat trafficking. The result of this enforcement-led approach has been an increase in vulnerable populations in Mexico's prisons, but no impact on the drug trade or violence.

One day in 1993, Rosa decided to travel from her home state of Guerrero to Mexico City. According to her testimony, a few people she knew from her town convinced her to travel with them, and without her knowledge, had her carry a bag with heroine inside through airport security. She says that she was tortured into signing a confession and as a result spent close to 11 years in prison.