Photo of Izalco Prison, El Salvador, by Meridith Kohut for The New York Times.

Think U.S. prisons are bad? Inmates in Latin America face the threat of massacres, hand grenades and inmates wielding assault rifles, not to mention rampant disease and overcrowding so severe that beds are a commodity. The situation is dire, as this New York Times piece makes abundantly clear. Yet what is the solution? Building more prisons? Better trained corrections officers? Work release and re-entry programming? What lessons might the U.S. share, based on our successes and failures as a prison nation?