El Salvador Mega-Prison for gang members in Tecoluca San Vicente

By Eddie Vasquez  |  Jul 27th, 2022
El Salvador Mega-Prison
Terrorism Confinement Center in El Salvador. Image by @SalvadorChacon_

El Salvador Mega-Prison in Tecoluca San Vicente is a jail created to accommodate gang members in the Salvadoran penal system. The Salvadoran Mega-Prison will have the capacity to hold 20,000 inmates.

President Nayib Bukele announced the construction of the jail he calls the Terrorism Confinement Center on Twitter, along with a five-minute video on June 21st, 2022.

I present [to you] the construction of the TERRORISM CONFINEMENT CENTER. In this war against the gangs and thanks to the Exception Regime, we have arrested more than 40,000 terrorists. But there is still a long way to go…” Nayib Bukele.

President Bukele and other government officials have stated that the Terrorism Confinement Center is in a rural area far away from urban areas. Since 2021, the Bukele administration has closed jails located in urban areas.

The Tecoluca Mega-Prison will have eight pavilions, each with a capacity to hold 2,500 inmates. The jail will have 2,000 meters of perimeter wall with an additional electrified fence.

According to the government, the new prison is necessary to hold the over 45,000 presumed gang members arrested during the State of Emergency that began in late March 2022.

Currently, the Salvadoran prison system is already overcrowded, and the new detainees from the state of exception create more problems for the Salvadoran prison system.

“The first pavilions will be ready in the last quarter of this year,” said the Minister of Justice and Security Gustavo Villatoro in a TV interview.

El Salvador Mega Jail
Mega-Jail in Tecoluca San Vicente. Image by @OsirisLunaMeza

The Mega-Prison is being built fast under the Special Law for the Construction of Penitentiary Centers, which the Legislative Assembly approved in April. However, the prison project of the Bukele administration has incurred heavy criticism from the political opposition.

Many opposing politicians believe that the construction is taking place without transparency and that the Nayib Bukele government is not considering the concerns of the local communities in the area.

Opposing parliamentarians are pointing out the lack of clarity in the government’s priorities. The decision to build a prison when the population is overwhelmed by the high cost of living shows it.

The head of the legislative faction of ARENA, Rene Portillo Cuadra, stated that with the economic crisis that Salvadoran families are experiencing, Salvadorans hope that this money is used to alleviate the situation in the country instead of a new prison.

Even though the project is being criticized, the El Salvador Mega-Prison in Tecoluca San Vicente is needed. As of this date, over 45,000 people have been arrested under an exceptional state of emergency.

The controversial State of Exceptions, which has lowered the homicide rate in El Salvador, was approved in late march; since then, it has been extended many times.

To win this war against gangs, we have to have the greatest protection such as the Terrorism Confinement Center, where order, control, and discipline will be maintained. This Center will have 3 security rings and state-of-the-art technology. Osiris Luna Meza.

“This prison is going to be housing the highly profiled terrorists who have caused pain and mourning to Salvadorans.” Said Osiris Luna, the Director General of the Salvadora Penal Centers.