Colombia plans to fight prison overcrowding with 26,000 new cells


The Ministry of Justice plans to add capacity for 26,000 more inmates to combat systematic overcrowding in Colombian prisons. “One of the problems that have been identified in visits that the Ministry has made to prisons around the country is related to the infrastructure,” said Deputy Minister for Criminal Policy, Farid Benavides.

Ruth Stella Correa, the Minister of Justice,  proposed modifications to the penal code that would allow the building of mega prisons in partnership with private investors. Under the plan the country’s prison system would increase capacity by 26,000.

However, this is not the first time the plan has been proposed.

The “conditions are horrific” an anonymous source familiar with the prison system told Colombia Reports.

Prison overcrowding in Colombian has been rampant, like Cali’s Villahermosa prison that is overcrowded by almost four times the maximum capacity of 1,700 inmates.


Justice said in a press release that the new prison would include exercise areas, visiting rooms and hospital space.

The names of private companies to possible partner with the State will be make known in June the Justice confirmed.

Overcrowding and other prison conditions led to a hunger strike by prisoners in August 2012. During the protest calls were made for the resignation of the country’s director of prisons.

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