As part of the anti-crime plan in Puerto Rico, a series of police arrests known as 100x35 have been implemented since 2021. These operations are focused on dismantling drug sales hubs as part of the Comprehensive Security Plan for Puerto Rico, which seeks to dismantle various criminal organizations. Based on journalistic data, these operations have resulted in the detention of more than 5,000 individuals, with a high conviction rate of approximately 98%.
Despite these positive results, the Secretary of the Correction and Rehabilitation Administration recently indicated in an interview that by 2024, there will be an estimated maximum of 6,100 prisoners. This raises concerns about the effectiveness of mass arrests versus convictions in court since the dismantling of criminal organizations may simply lead to the emergence of new ones in the underground economy.
The accuracy of these operations' effectiveness is difficult to ascertain, mainly when the number of deaths after a crime scene is not always included in the official statistics. For example, when a person is injured at a scene, transported to the hospital, and then dies on the way or in the hospital, that number is not necessarily registered as part of the violence and its effects.
Moreover, what happens to the arrested individuals is unclear once they are in custody. How effective are the processes of adjudicating responsibility in a court of law? While over 5,000 people have been detained over the past three years, Puerto Rico's prisons have been in operation for over 60 years and have housed approximately 6,100 prisoners.
As responsible citizens, we must learn from experts how to accurately measure the effectiveness of judicial prosecutions versus convictions and sentences awarded. This will require a comprehensive analysis of the various factors that may impact these operations' effectiveness, including the quality of law enforcement investigations, the efficiency of the criminal justice system, and the nature of the targeted criminal organizations.