>> At the height of Mexico's crackdown on drug cartels in 2008, former president, Felipe Calderon rolled out a plan to build 15 new federal prisons to house an influx of inmates. But years later, some of those penitentiaries are only partially build, or still not open. Others, like the Papantla Prison, which cost $100 million to build, remain idle.
Reuters' correspondent, Christine Murray, visited the facility.>> I'm standing outside what was supposed to be a super max prison in Mexico's gulf state of Veracruz. The prison appears to be deteriorating, there's a ladder missing from the entrance side, the guard box is empty, and fence is rusting.>> For Mexican taxpayers, these idled prisons are adding insult to injury.
According to public records, the federal prison authority has spent billions of pesos maintaining the idle prisons. The long delays and wasted money, highlight broader problems plaguing government infrastructure programs in Mexico. Congress provides weak oversight of budgets, and incoming presidents typically seek to promote their own projects. And they are plenty of problems with existing prisons in Mexico.
Human rights groups report physical abuse, lack of food, and some prisoners being locked in their cells almost all day. On top of that, more than a third of all prisoners have not been sentenced. Some spend years locked up awaiting trial.