The re-internationalization of Latin American penal struggles (1970s-2000s): US penal aid, dependent semi-periphery reformers and a new regional penal policy expertise

Dr Paul Hathazy, Researcher, National Scientific and Technical Research Council of Argentina.


Here I reconstruct the expansion and renovation of dependency of Latin American penal policy fields to the US foreign policy field, and indirectly, to the US national penal policy field, between the 1970s-2000s.

The paper maps the increasing relevance of US penal aid in the emerging regional market of criminal justice reform and thus in structuring penal struggles in three crucial national arenas of the region, Costa Rica, Argentina and Chile. Integrating but going beyond policy circulation and neo-colonial approaches with a post-national field perspective (Krause) the paper begins showing how penal struggles in Costa Rica in the early 1970 involved mainly Latin American and UN-based circuits of exchange that became institutionalized in the Costa Rica-based United Nations Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (ILANUD) in the mid-1970s.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Juan Manuel Núñez Méndez