El Salvador Proves Jail Drastically Reduces Crime

Millenius / shutterstock.com
Millenius / shutterstock.com

President Nayib Bukele took over El Salvador back in 2019. As the elected President, he gave the country a nice opportunity for leaders and officials to get the country right. When many of their citizens bucked his leadership, Bukele decided to make some big changes in the way the country handled crime. Specifically, he wanted to crush the gangs that had taken over the nation and restore the peace and order El Salvadorians deserved.

Launched in March 2023, Bukele brought an “iron fist” to the concept of gangs. Almost immediately jailing over 70,000 people to jail for gang activity, the message of sending over 2% of the adult population to prison was heard loud and clear. While many have condemned his tough rules, even calling them human rights violations, the stripping of basic liberties and making them await trial has dropped the crime levels.

Since then, other nations have started following his process. Honduras made a dramatic change following a prison uprising with gang connections that left 46 female prisoners dead. Now, places like Guatemala are having multiple pro-Bukele rallies as they beg for discipline for those who want to destroy their nation.

For Bukele and lawmakers who admire his positioning, the numbers speak for themselves. While polling in Central and South America can be unreliable at best, he has consistently gotten 80-90% approval ratings in recent polls. As a sign of the failures of the previous regimes, El Salvador was one of the deadliest places on earth back in 2015. With a 107 per 100,000 death rate, people were afraid to cross the street for some eggs, let alone go to work. Now, that rate has plummeted to 7.8 per 100,000.

All this change means that places that were once rife with crime are now quieter and safer to move around. Even critics of the policy have had to admit that all crime has plummeted, with extortion especially taking a nosedive. One problem they have pointed out is the 153 deaths of people who are in custody. In a sign of whitewashing the situation, few have been listed as gang-related. Multiple deaths with signs of torture were categorized as “undetermined” on official forms.

Long term, these kinds of crackdowns have proven to be unsustainable in the region. As critics love to point out, surges in offending then follow, and they fail to get the rampant causes of crime in these countries, poverty and discrimination, under control. Still, to those living on the ground and not simply making observations based on the numbers, he has been a hero.

Petronila Zepeda, a homemaker returning from a market in the capital of San Salvador, said, “Nobody can deny that the country has changed.” With the need to pay gang members for protection no longer an expense for her or her neighbors, she added, “People are happy with the way things are going.”

A change like this is something President Biden or other liberals won’t do themselves or allow conservatives to do without making it into a major issue. Instead, they lean forward into the idea of perpetually paying more and more for the American people to have less and less. In their eyes, as long as everything is “equal,” who cares how much the average American is suffering under their revolving door policies on crime?

While the idea of fixing poverty and discrimination is great in theory, it can be done in conjunction with cleaning up the streets and fully enforcing the law. As a nation, we are currently taking in a lot of the people looking to escape El Salvador and other nations that are suddenly going tough on crime. With so many of them being men, it certainly reinforces the idea that they are running here not for our freedom but for our poor response to crime.

With Trump looking more and more likely to take the White House in the 2024 elections, the idea that he could bring Bukele’s style of leadership to the US threatens liberals. After the last four years of Biden’s failures, it could be the 1-2 punch that America needs.