President Milei says he wants to create massive private prisons

Asked if he would copy the security policies of El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele, the president also promised to file a bill to let the army act in cases of ‘narcoterrorism’

President Javier Milei wants to sell off Argentina’s existing prisons to real estate companies so they can fund the construction of mega-prisons housing up to 6,000 inmates, he said in an interview.

Speaking to CNN Español, Milei said he would seek to sell prisons built in areas that are now in residential areas because of urban expansion.

“We are thinking of selling those prisons to real estate companies and for those companies to fund the construction of a new one far away from the city,” Milei said.

These jails “would have better security, higher quality, better services, would be bigger, and [would be built] without spending a single penny,” he added.

This plan was designed by Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, Milei said, and would be a response to worsening organized crime and drug trafficking in Rosario, the biggest city in Santa Fe province.

In recent months, the government has sent over 1,400 military and naval police to Rosario. They are providing logistical support, but cannot operate on the ground: by Argentine law, the armed forces cannot participate in security operations except during a state of emergency. 

The president said his administration is planning to submit a bill to Congress that would allow the army to act within Argentina in cases of terrorism. “We are thinking of an intermediate solution, where armed forces can intervene in situations of narcoterrorism with the same regulations security forces have,” he said.

“To do that, you also need to have a response in the prison system,” he added, after being asked if he was planning on copying the security policies of El Salvador’s president Nayib Bukele. El Salvador currently has the largest prison in the Americas, with a capacity of 40,000 inmates.

“We would have to see how this could be approved,” he said after being asked whether he would implement it via decree or send it to Congress.

“It shouldn’t face much resistance,” Milei added. “Society is acknowledging that ‘those who do it, pay for it’ and it’s one of our most popular policies, after our anti-inflation policies.”

You may also be interested in: Government sends federal security forces to Rosario amid violence spike


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald