Ecuador regains control of prisons after hostages freed

January 15, 2024

Inmates rioted in jails where gangs wield outsize control, taking prison guards and administrative workers hostage, while on the streets a wave of violence has left 19 people dead. They also shared images of hundreds of cowed inmates, shirtless and barefoot, lying on the ground at several prisons. Authorities announced the release of 201 prison guards and administrative officials, from prisons across seven provinces. The government declared a state of emergency and curfew, infuriating gangsters who declared "war" against civilians and security forces. Noboa has announced he plans to build two "super maximum" security prisons with a capacity for more than 3,000 people, with proposals for future "prison ships" also on the table.