After watching a hell load of 'Banged Up Abroad' and reading a few books on some famous cases (James Miles and Paul Loseby) it has occurred to me how much someone should suffer from a relatively mild case of drug smuggling. A crime should be measured on severity, but in this case a lot of these drug smugglers are given more time than mass murderers, rapists, and terrorists. I'm not sure about the
Prisons like La Sabaneta, Yare, Carandiru in South America are notorious for corruption, mass murders, torture, and rape. Inmates carry guns, knifes, grenades and are given little to no punishment for committing murder inside. According to a book I recently read (Hellhole) murders happen every day, guards are so corrupt that everything has a price. Guards smuggle drugs into the prison, arrange women to be raped inside, and shoot anyone outside of their cell after dark. Most of these jails have some sort of initiation where a one of many gangs would approach you and tell you to kill or steal from a rival gang. If you refused you would either be stabbed on the spot, or get branded with a hot iron poker which would subject you to being the whipping boy of the entire jail.
The conditions of the prisons are even worse and unless your willing to murder, or deal drugs inside, you would die within months from drinking contaminated water. Insects and disease ridden animals roam the prisons, and it's not uncommon for a botfly to lay eggs inside your ears where they hatch maggots that cause inmates to go insane. Cells are tiny and the hygiene of the entire complex makes you think you're living in a sewer. Guards get to torture you at will and if an inmate was to rebel against them, they would be put in solitary confinement for weeks which would involve being locked in a concrete room with shackles round your arms and positioned high up so you couldn't even sit down. Add to that, you would be knee deep in shit, blood and urine.
A typical coke smuggler caught with a few kilos of coke could land you fifteen years of a fate worse than hell. The worse thing is, most of the 'smugglers' are set up so that someone could plant drugs on an unsuspecting tourist, so a corrupt cop can arrest the tourist, give them fifteen years in jail and claim the drugs for himself.
I don't really have much sympathy for anyone committing crimes, no matter how desperate they are. You could argue that these drug smugglers are second hand murderers and I would agree, but having your freedom taken away from you is one thing. Living in fear and experiencing hell every day for what would seem like an eternity would be a fate worse than death. Being forced to commit a crime in order to survive inside, just makes me think that you would come out of jail even worse.
So, in a nutshell, do they deserve it? Wouldn't it be kinder just to be executed? (although would likely never happen).