Prison Imperialism

The United States is spreading its model of mass incarceration around the world. The US government has prison management programs in at least 33 different countries, mainly to majority non-white and “developing” nations. These classified, clandestine programs involve the construction of new prisons, prison guard training, and data management. Funding is provided as part of the “War on Drugs”. These programs begin in 2000 when the US Embassy in Colombia signed a cooperation agreement with Colombia’s Ministry of the Interior.

The Alliance for Global Justice calls these international incarceration programs Prison Imperialism. We use that phrase because it is a US model that we are exporting around the world, and because we contribute to rising incarceration rates and inhumane conditions for prisoners. More so, we recognize that Prison Imperialism along with foreign occupations and military bases, and police and border militarization, are all part of the infrastructure of empire.

We call for an end to US prison management programs and the release of all Prisoners of Empire. We hope to help build international bridges among those resisting empire and struggling for the liberation of prisoners of empire. For more information, contact Leilani Clark at or 202-540-8336, ext. 5, or check out What is Prison Imperialism?

Political Prisoners in the USA

“El Pozo 1”, Santa Barbara, Honduras



Prisoners inside “La Tramacúa”, Valledupar, Colombia










Farhiktegan Newspaper: Mostafa Afzalzadeh Interviews AfGJ on Prison Imperialism

Mostafa Afzalzadeh is an Iranian investigative journalist and filmmaker. He created a documentary film entitled Manufacturing Dissent: The Truth About Syria, as well as a documentary about the ‘99 percent Movement’ in the US, which was broadcast by the Iran’s National TV and won the first prize at Amar Film Festival. He interviewed AfGJ’s Nasim Chatha for Iran’s Farhikhtegan newspaper, which is affiliated with Azad University. Read the Farsi version of this interview on Farhikhtegan...

Prisoners of US Empire

Prisoners of US Empire are political prisoners who have been incarcerated because of their activities for liberation from and/or resistance to US empire, or because they are for some reason or other considered obstacles to US empire and its designs. Their activities may be characterized as anti-war and anti-militarist, pro-democracy, anti-nuclear, ecological, whistleblower and journalist, First Nations Liberation, Puerto Rican liberation, and more…

Talk Nation Radio: AfGJ on Prison Imperialism

David Swanson interviews Nasim, AfGJ’s Prison Imperialism Project Coordinator, for Talk Nation Radio. Listen to hear them discuss the roots of Prison Imperialism in Colombia, it’s expansion all around the world, the US’s true motives for managing the world’s prisons, how activists can get involved, and more.

What is Prison Imperialism?

AfGJ calls the system of US prison management programs “Prison Imperialism.”  We’re referring to the prison programs themselves, as well as the imperialist dynamic between the US and the affected countries that is the context for why these programs exist. Important characteristics of Prison Imperialism are increased incarceration rates, changing cultures of incarceration, increased police and border militarization in affected…

Human Rights and the Global Prison

By July Henriquez, an attorney and director of Lazos de Dignidad, one of AfGJ’s closest partnered organizations. July has been defending Colombia’s political prisoners for over eleven years. The following is translated and reprinted with permission from Fundación Lazos de Dignidad.  Trans. Guillermo Enrique Lopez and Nasim Chatha Capital and the Prison: A Lethal Mix…

Truthout Report: How the US Imposes the Worst of its Prison Paradigm Abroad

Nasim Chatha (AfGJ Prison Imperialism Coordinator) for Truthout : The new federal penitentiary in Santa Barbara, Honduras, occupies a strip of land between a highway and cloudy, forested hills. “El Pozo,” or The Pit, as it’s known, is surrounded by barbed wire and has two additional checkpoints beyond the first gate. It’s a maximum-security facility, one of three …

Political Prisoners in the USA

 This document, which was first published on September 11, 2013, was updated on April 5, 2017 and will be going through further updating over the coming weeks as well as being translated into Spanish. We want to acknowledge Stan Smith and the Chicago Committee to Free the Five (773-376-7521, for initiating this project and compiling the original list. WE NEED YOUR HELP! This list is an ongoing…

The Guantanamo of Colombia: Pressure Mounts to Shut Down Notorious US-Funded Prison


Originally published in Upside Down World Written by John Ocampo Friday, 29 January 2016 14:29 Photo: Inside La Tramacua prison. Image via Radio Macondo SIGN THE PETITION TO CLOSE LA TRAMACÚA, COLOMBIA’S US FUNDED TORTURE PRISON! The campaign to shut down Colombia’s infamous Establecimiento Penitenciario y Carcelario de Alta y Mediana Seguridad de Valledupar “La Tramacua”…

Message from Hubert Ballesteros, Colombian unionist and political prisoner, to North American labor and solidarity activists

Originally published in Fight Back! News Versión en español The following message is a response to a series of questions posed to Hubert Ballesteros by James Jordan of the Alliance for Global Justice. Ballesteros was arrested while negotiating for the National Agrarian Strike of 2013 and charged with Rebellion. He was also serving on the…

Close Colombia’s La Tramacúa, US Funded and Designed Prison

We, the members of the Alliance for Global Justice, are very concerned about the news we have received from the Colombian organization Lazos de Dignidad (Links of Dignity), in reference to the recent abuses against the political prisoners and prisoners of war in the Penitentiary Establishment of Valledupar, commonly known as “La Tramacúa”…

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