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Inside El Salvador’s Jails (Excerpt from ‘Gangs of El Salvador’)

VICE News reporter Danny Gold gains access inside the jail of Usulután, where members from opposing gangs — MS-13 and 18th Street Gang — are held in separate wings.

El Salvador is set to eclipse Honduras as the country with the highest homicide rate in the world. By the end of September 2015, there had been around 5,000 murders this year, in a country with a population of just over six million. El Salvador's murder rate is now the highest it's been since the end of the country's brutal civil war — there is on average one murder an hour.

The staggering death toll follows the breakdown of a truce between powerful, rival gangs and the government. Police and military are now combatting the gangs head-on and gang members are being charged with a new crime — membership of a terrorist organization.

In this excerpt, VICE News reporter Danny Gold gains access inside the jail of Usulután, a small but violent, gang-plagued city two hours outside El Salvador's capital. Inside the jail, members from opposing gangs — MS-13 and 18th Street Gang — are held in separate wings, while a different cell houses "reformed" gang members. Here, Gold interviews members of MS-13, as well as a member who has found religion and left the gang.

Watch "Gangs of El Salvador (Full Length)"

Read "Are El Salvador's Murderous Gangs the Voice of the Oppressed? They Think So"