BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – Employees of the National penitentiary Institute, the Inpec, are on strike demanding more money and better working conditions – including reduction in prison overcrowding. Prison overcrowding is a grave problem across Colombia, whose jails are packed with 58% more inmates than they were designed for. At least one has four times its intended population, according to human rights groups.
In addition to causing suffering of inmates, the huge prison population generates a huge economic cost and lots of ruined lives. Over the last year, the government has tried to reduce this overcrowding by releasing some people to home detention who’ve served most of their sentences.
Another policy option they might consider would be to relax prohibitionist drug policies, which funnel wealth to violent, outlaw groups and also mean the imprisonment of non-violent offenders.
I’m not sure why these guys made ‘peace’ the catchword of their protest. Perhaps they’re Santos voters.
“The nation’s prisons are a kind of torture center,” leftist Senator Jorge Robledo was quoted in El Tiempo.
The workers’ strike has already begun to address the crisis in a small way. Because of the resulting manpower shortage, some prisons have ceased receiving new inmates, and at least one inmate escaped while out for a medical appointment.
Source: Mike’s Bogot Blog