Cali's Villahermosa prison (Photo: EFE)

The Villahermosa prison in the city of Cali has become Colombia’s most overcrowded prison as it has a 1677 inmate capacity now accommodates 4700 prisoners, reported newspaper El Pais.Prison overcrowding is a nationwide problem in Colombia. Prison authority INPEC produced a report in December that confirmed the country has an average overcrowding rate of 58%. This figure is the proportion of inmates over official capacity.

As of December 2013, INPEC reported the prison population stood at 120,032 – 43,966 over capacity.

Figures from the Cali prison will put pressure on the government to continue its plans to reform Colombia’s penal system. Law 1709, which was enacted earlier this month, could potentially relieve the prison population by nearly 9,000.

MORE: Prison code reform good news for 9000 Colombian convicts

Ombudsman Jorge Armando Otalora has said ” the situation has reached critical levels that threaten both the welfare of the prison population as the entire society.”

This latest news follows on from a fire in a Barranquilla prison last week in which 10 people were eventually confirmed dead and dozens more injured.

MORE: 9 dead after north Colombia prison riot and fire

Cali’s Villahermosa prison


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