Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies



Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 388 pages) : color illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Pedro Cabán

Committee Members

Patricia Pinho, Fernando Leiva, Sujatha Fernandes


Coloniality, Neoliberalism, Penal System, Post-Neoliberal, Prisons, Venezuela, Prison violence, Corrections, Criminal justice, Administration of

Subject Categories

Criminology | Latin American Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology


This dissertation examines contemporary Venezuela’s dual prison system--in which half of the prison population is incarcerated in internally controlled prisons run by armed inmates, and the other half are locked up in the Bolivarian Government’s restricted “New Regime” prisons. The Venezuelan state formation is conceptualized as ‘hybrid post-neoliberal,’ demonstrating how rationalities of a liberal rentier state and neoliberalism, combined with anti-neoliberal logics all act together in competing yet co-existing ways in the post-neoliberal era, which was initiated by the 1999 Bolivarian Revolution. The central question examines the “work” of the prison in the (re)production of power relations and how policies, neoliberal rationalities and anti-neoliberal logics shape the prison, reflect the nature of the Venezuelan state, and impact the everyday lives of Venezuelans who come into contact with the penal system. The research is based on over fifty interviews with incarcerated people, formerly incarcerated people and their family members as well as prison volunteers, government officials and representatives of NGOs. The author argues that the prison does not simply discipline and punish but that the carceral institution cannot be divorced from its colonial antecedents; the mutually reinforcing concepts of euro-centrism, race, sex and sexuality, nor from neoliberal capitalism and modernity/coloniality; a concept that she introduced as “carceral coloniality.” Building off of the anti-neoliberal sentiments present in hybrid post-neoliberal Venezuela, the dissertation examines how thinking “del otro lado”/from the other side holds promise for decolonial epistemologies that could aid in the transformation of Venezuela’s prison system.