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Dammert, Lucía. Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas / Lucía Dammert and Liza Zúñiga. Santiago, Chile: FLACSO, 2008. 172 p. ISBN: 978-956-205-234-4 PENAL AND RELATED INSTITUTIONS; PENITENTIARY SYSTEM; LATIN AMERICA; CARIBBEAN

Design and diagrams: Claudio Doñas Cover photography: Claudio Doñas Inside photography: Matías Torres y Enrique Aracena (Gendarmería de Chile), Cocó Lazo y Mateo Herrera (FLACSO-Ecuador) y Claudio Doñas Editorial coordination: Carolina Contreras.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission in writing of the publisher Original title: La cárcel: problemas y desafíos para las Américas First edition: January 2009 ISBN: 978-956-205-234-4 Copyright Nº: 176.965 © 2008, FLACSO-Chile © 2009, FLACSO-Chile Av. Dag Hammarskjöld 3269, Vitacura, Santiago de Chile www.flacso.cl


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Lucía Dammert Liza Zúñiga

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FLACSO - Chile

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Table of contents Forward Introduction 1. The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean 1.1 Penal institutions: their place in the structure and policy of government 1.2 Types of correctional systems 1.3 Prison budget: reintegration and re-adaptation? 2. Description of the inmate population 2.1 Overpopulation: fewer prisoners or more prisons? 2.2 Use or abuse of preventive detention? 3. Incarceration of female offenders: Complexities of a growing problem 4. Violence inside the prison walls 5. The health of the inmates 6. A tough job: prison officials and staff 7. Conclusions and recommendations Bibliography Annex

7 9 15 15 18 27 39 39 65 81 99 111 133 147 151 162

Index of tables Table 1. Prison systems in the Caribbean: the government department to which they answer and the prison administrations, 2008 Table 2. Prison systems in Central America: the government department to which they answer and the prison administrations, 2008 Table 3. Prison systems in South America: the government department to which they answer and the prison administrations Table 4. Penal Institutions in the Caribbean, 2008 Table 5. Penal Institutions in Central America and Mexico, 2008 Table 6. State Penal Institutions in Brazil Table 7. Penal Institutions in South America, 2008 Table 8. Prison Overpopulation in Latin America and the Caribbean Table 9. Sentences in Buenos Aires, by Length of Sentence Table 10. Overcrowding in Uruguay, by Prison Table 11. Overpopulation in Some Chilean Penal Institutions Table 12. Chile’s Inmate Population, by Type of Offense and Gender Table 13. Inmate Population in Argentina’s Federal Penitentiary System, by Legal Status Table 14. Inmates on Trial and Sentenced, by Jurisdiction, in Mexico (2004-2007) Table 15. Pregnant Inmates and Inmates with Children in Argentina’s Federal Penitentiary System Table 16. Foreign Inmates as a Percentage of the Total in Latin America and the Caribbean Table 17. Age of Juvenile Criminal Responsibility Table 18. Episodes of Prison Violence in El Salvador Table 19. Deaths inside Guatemalan Prisons (2007) Table 20. Deaths and Injuries in Venezuelan Correctional Facilities (2006-2007-2008) Table 21. Acts of Violence inside Venezuelan Correctional Facilities (2006-2008) Table 22. Escapes from Venezuelan Prisons Table 23. Presence of Disease in the Inmate Population, by Gender (Belize, Chile, Panama) 2008 Table 24. Medical Care Provided by Argentina’s Federal Penitentiary System

15 16 17 19 21 22 24 45 47 49 50 64 68 72 89 92 95 100 101 103 104 104 113 118

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Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table

25. Health Care Services Available in Paraguayan Prisons, 2006 26. Staff of Argentina’s Federal Prison System 2007 27. Belize’s Prison Personnel 28. Guatemala’s Prison Personnel 29. Panama’s Prison Personnel 30. Costa Rica’s Prison Personnel 31. Chile’s Prison Personnel 32. Uniformed Personnel of the Chilean Gendarmerie That Have Professional Degrees 33. Peru’s Prison Personnel 34. Paraguay’s Prison Personnel 35. Staff of Paraguay’s Prison System, by Function, 2006 36. Staff of Brazil’s National Prison System

118 135 136 136 136 137 137 138 138 138 139 141

Index of graphs Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph

1. Guatemala’s prison budget (2003-2006) 2. Evolution of the inmate population in the Caribbean 3. Evolution of incarceration in the Federal Penitentiary Service, Argentina, 1984-2007 4. Prison capacity and inmate population, by region, Colombia 5. Unconvicted Inmate Population by Gender, Various Countries, 2008 6. Inmate Population in Chile, by Legal Status (1998-2007) 7. Unconvicted Inmate Population in Paraguay (1991-2006) 8. Trend of the prison population in the United States (1980-2006) 9. Female Inmate Population in South America 10. Number of deaths and injuries in Venezuelan correctional facilities 1999-2007 11. Evolution of the inmate population in the Caribbean 12. Evolution of the prison population in Central America 13. Evolution of the prison population in the Southern Cone 14. Evolution of incarceration in the Federal Penitentiary Service, Argentina, 1984-2007 15. Evolution of the prison population in the Andean countries 16. Prison capacity and inmate population, by region, Colombia 17. Prison Capacity and Inmate Population, by Region, Peru 18. The Caribbean: Number of Inmates per 100,000 Inhabitants 19. Central America: Number of Inmates per 100,000 Inhabitants 20. South America: Number of Inmates per 100,000 Inhabitants 21. Unconvicted inmate population in Latin America and the Caribbean 22. Unconvicted inmates and overpopulation in Latin American prisons 23. Unconvicted Inmate Population by Gender, Various Countries, 2008 24. Inmates in Preventive Detention, Brazil (2000-2007) 25. Inmate Population in Chile, by Legal Status (1998-2007) 26. Unconvicted Inmate Population in Paraguay (1991-2006) 27. Inmate Population in Mexico and Inmates Standing Trial, by Jurisdiction 29. Number of inmates in federal and local prisons for every 100,000 inhabitants 30. Female inmate population in the Caribbean 31. Female inmate population in Central America 32. Female Inmate Population in South America 33. Foreign inmates in Ecuador, 2007

28 28 29 30 30 31 32 33 40 41 42 44 46 47 52 53 53 57 58 59 66 67 67 69 70 71 72 74 82 83 83 93

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Graph Graph Graph Graph Graph

34. 35. 36. 37. 38.

Foreign Inmates in Brazil Foreign Inmates in Chile, 2007 Fatalities in Guatemala’s Prisons (2005-2007) Number of deaths and injuries in Venezuelan correctional facilities 1999-2007 Percentage of the inmate population with health problems

93 94 100 103 117

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Forward Crime is one of the great challenges for democratic governance in our hemisphere. While it touches society in general, it strikes hardest at the vulnerable, the disadvantaged and the marginalized. High crime rates carry a terrible economic, political and cultural cost that blunts the positive effects of policies for inclusion and social protection. Crime thus strikes yet another blow at the most vulnerable sectors of society. Given this problem, the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States, with the support of the Ministry of Justice of Chile, commissioned the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales [Latin-American Faculty of Social Sciences] (FLACSO-CHILE) to conduct the study that we are now presenting, titled “Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas.” To that same end and by mandate of the meeting of Ministers of Justice or Ministers or Attorney Generals of the Americas (REMJA), the General Secretariat and the Government of Chile have jointly convened the Second Meeting of Officials Responsible for Penitentiary and Prison Policies in OAS Member States, which will soon be held in Valdivia, Chile. The incarceration of millions of people in the region is, in itself, a major security problem. The complex problems bedeviling our prison systems manifest themselves in the form of overcrowding, protracted preventive detentions, inmate health, the anemic support that alternatives to incarceration enjoy, poorly trained prison officials and personnel, and inadequate programs in social rehabilitation and reintegration to prepare inmates to re-enter civilian life. These difficulties are common to most states and call for comprehensive solutions. Public policies on prison-related issues must be crafted to respond to these challenges. It is particularly important that those who promote policies on criminal justice coordinate with those who deliver sentences and those who enforce them. These problems often overwhelm the ability of the penitentiary and prison systems to introduce the means of social rehabilitation and reintegration that will reduce recidivism and bolster control and prevention policies. The study that we are introducing offers meaningful perspectives and proposes solutions for these problems. It is our contribution to a vital discussion. We are grateful to those whose efforts helped make this study possible. José Miguel Insulza Secretary General of the Organization of American States.

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Introduction Crime is one of the region’s major problems. The murder rate has climbed so high and violent crime has become so rampant that fear has become part of the daily lives of most citizens of the hemisphere. Crime varies greatly from one country to another. Canada and the United States are certainly very different from the rest of the hemisphere. Nevertheless, even at the subregional level, the problems found in countries like El Salvador and Panama or Peru and Brazil are very different. Yet despite these differences, the public policy responses in the region have been very similar and –irrespective of the ideological leanings of the governments– have been calculated primarily to control and suppress crime. Governments rely on “tough-on-crime” or “zero tolerance” policies, the use of combined police and military forces, more severe penalties and a lower age at which one becomes criminally liable. These policies seem to ignore one of the principal pieces of the machinery of crime control: prisons. Yet today’s ‘tough-on-crime’ and ‘zero tolerance’ policies are requiring penal institutions to house more people and for longer periods, even though the prison infrastructure and staff have not always been maintained at the level necessary to keep pace with those changes. The growing inmate population, the budget shortfall, poor management and other factors have conspired to cause the prison system in Latin America to fail. Rather than helping to control crime, many correctional facilities have become veritable “universities of crime,” where life inside the prison walls induces and even cultivates the establishment of criminal organizations. So the question one has to ask is this: is the prison system really part of the solution to the problem of insecurity, or has it become a problem in its own right that simply compounds the danger? One of the chief obstacles to embarking upon a dialogue on prisons and how they operate is public awareness, since so often prisons are invisible to society. The logic of incarceration creates an alien culture within prisons, far removed, difficult to understand, and not part of the world beyond the prison walls. The peculiar lifestyle and power relations that develop inside a prison make it difficult to think of any penitentiary system as a single entity, as each prison within that system has its own characteristics, shaped by the type of inmates it houses, its location (urban or rural) and the way in which it is run. Therefore, a general overview of the system, like the one presented here, draws on national data and compares data between countries. It is intended to spark a debate on public policy whose principal purpose should be to arrive at a clear understanding of a prison system’s functions and mission and how to improve its facilities. This study’s findings are our contribution to the debate on the existing policies and the challenges that prison systems face. Another difficulty encountered when examining prisons is the lack of information about what actually goes on inside prison walls. All too frequently the public’s only glimpse at the inner workings of a prison is when events like escapes, riots or strikes happen; in other words, the public’s glance inside prison walls occurs in those extreme situations that tend to involve violence. Rarely does the public hear about former inmates who successfully re-enter society or about how difficult it is to work in prisons. Prisons are a subject that no one really wants to hear about. Inmates who serve their time and are released will, in the eyes of the rest of society, always be guilty.

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The message of this report is that the prison system is plagued by problems that confound its mission, creating situations in which inmates’ rights are trampled and the safety of prison staff imperiled. Studies done on prisons usually focus on the inmates’ poor living conditions or the peculiarities of life inside prisons. While this study will examine that aspect, it will also investigate the prison system’s relationship with other institutions and the difficult position that prison officials and personnel are in. We are mindful of the need for more professionalized prison services, in partnership with civilian leaders who are able to enter into dialogue with the other public safety elements in order to put their needs on the agenda. The comparison of prison data reveals procedures and needs that set the agenda for this sector along the following lines: i. Civilian leadership must do more than simply check prisons for their security; instead, it has to take a hard look inside prisons and at the quality of life being afforded to inmates, as that quality of life will shape their behavior and determine how well they adapt to life in prison. A prison administration that takes a holistic approach to its work will improve a prison’s performance in the areas most vital to accomplishing the mission entrusted to it. In most cases, that mission is more than just custody of the inmate for the duration of his or her sentence; it also involves the inmate’s re-socialization, rehabilitation or re-adaptation. The civilian leadership in the executive and legislative branches of government plays a particularly important role in crafting responsible criminal justice policies and must be careful to weigh what impact its decisions will have on the prison system. ii. Budgetary adjustments must make it possible to correct the serious deficiencies in infrastructure, health care, provisions (food, bedding, hygienic supplies, etc.). Improvements in these areas can put an end to the trade and barter networks that develop inside prisons. However, the prison administration would have to provide more job opportunities to inmates. iii. A committed judiciary is needed to ensure that sentencing judges follow sentencing guidelines. A state that has accepted international human rights laws cannot neglect the rights of the convicted. While those convicted of crimes lose their liberty of movement, they still retain every other basic human right. iv. Intersectoral policies involve the interaction of multiple state institutions, such as health care, education, labor and social assistance. The prison system cannot, by itself, be expected to properly execute sentences, care for the inmates’ social needs and education, and prepare them to enter the job market. Human and economic resources can be used to better advantage if the resources and activities of each area are combined and coordinated. v. Special policies should address the needs of women and juveniles. These policies must focus on the special needs that women inmates have in terms of keeping their families together and maintaining contact with their children. The latter have committed no crime, yet must still suffer the consequences. Juveniles also require special attention; lowering the age of criminal responsibility does not mean that juveniles should be treated the same as the adult inmate population.

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

vi. Professional prison services must be trained to deal with persons who, for the most part, come from more marginalized social groups and have weak family ties, addictions or a history of drug and/or alcohol abuse. Security at prisons must be such that inmates’ rights are observed and their psychological-social needs addressed. This requires that the prison be properly staffed to perform its various functions. These variables are taken up one-by-one in this report. The first chapter introduces the prison system from the standpoint of its place within the structure of government and policy, as this is what determines its direction and how it is used. The perspective that civilian leadership brings to the issue of inmate treatment is expected to be more comprehensive than the perspective brought by military or police. While prison staff must be trained to perform the security functions of a prison, the facility should also have staff trained to treat persons who come from disadvantaged social circumstances. This chapter also features information on the various types of prisons that exist in many countries of the Americas, since the system must also adapt to accommodate the various types of people serving sentences. Another issue related to the administration of prisons is the budget assigned to the prison system, which reflects the priority that prison policy enjoys within each country’s policies on criminal justice. The second chapter describes the inmate population, focusing on issues that point out the weaknesses in the prison system. The first is overcrowding. Many prisons in Latin America are heavily overpopulated. Overcrowding has its own consequences, such as the lack of the space needed to properly segregate the inmate population; overcrowding can mean that dangerous criminals convicted of serious crimes co-mingle with others convicted of lesser crimes. Under such circumstances, the system is hard-pressed to perform its assigned functions of rehabilitation or re-assimilation, which become distant objectives. The incidence of repeat offenders may be indicative of the failings of the prison system overall, and of the policies on re-assimilation and crime prevention. Then, too, the number of inmates awaiting or standing trial puts added pressure on prison systems and often reflects the slow pace of the judicial process. One important consideration with regard to the treatment of the inmate population is the system’s capacity to address the different needs of the various population groups within the system, among them women, juveniles, foreigners, and ethnic and sexual minorities. Women prisoners and their treatment are discussed in chapter three. Because crime has traditionally been associated with men, less study has been devoted to the problems that female crime and delinquency pose. The assumption that the prison system will be accommodating men means that policies on women inmates tend to be reactive rather than proactive. Special institutions are needed to house juvenile offenders, with age-appropriate correctional facilities and staffed with the proper specialists. Foreign inmates tend to be substantially fewer in number but do require special services, such as translation and interpretation and a means of communicating with family. Ethnic and sexual minorities need to be treated differently, in a manner that takes account of their needs and customs. The fourth chapter deals with a consideration that is important in describing the inmate population’s behavior and concerns the acts of violence that occur in prison. The hierarchies of power established in prisons –exacerbated by the overcrowding and the incorrect classification

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and segregation of inmates– are a source of conflict that often result in injury and even death. Furthermore, the levels of violence in a prison are a strain on both staff and health care. The fifth chapter examines health care services for inmates, the presence of sexually transmitted diseases –which, percentage-wise, tend to be more common than they are in the rest of the population–, mental disorders –whether pre-existing or acquired while incarcerated–, and other pathologies, which are more serious or spread more rapidly because of overcrowding and poor conditions in prisons overall. The sixth and final chapter looks at the position that prison personnel have within the system. Often these people work under terrible conditions, hardly different from those of the inmates. With such demanding jobs, this can breed corruption and indolence. A decision was made to examine the prison situation in Latin America and the Caribbean by comparing regions. The countries analyzed in South America are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, which means that only Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries in South America are examined. In Central America, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama were analyzed; Mexico was included because of its geographic proximity and cultural affinity. While Belize is part of Central America, its cultural and historical roots are more akin to the Caribbean, which is why it is examined in the regional group consisting of Barbados, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. The information available to the public is not the same for all countries. To correct for these differences, the modus operandi used to prepare this report involved a mechanism intended to compile the same information in all cases. However, even the prison administrations themselves admit that the data are scattered and not systematized. So consultants and experts provided their support and gave a more complete picture of the prison situation. Because of the differences in the available information, not all countries figure in every analysis. However, the study does attempt to represent all the aforementioned subregions adequately. This report would not have been possible without the cooperation, auspices and support that the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States –most especially its Department of Public Security in the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security, particularly Ana María Díaz and Julio Rosenblatt– provided to the Ministry of Justice of Chile. Various institutions and individuals were instrumental in preparing this report and compiling the data. We are especially grateful for the contributions provided by experts who helped with specific topics: Alberto Binder, Director of the Centro de Políticas Públicas para el Socialismo [Center of Public Policies for Socialism] (CEPPAS) and the Executive Committee of the Instituto Latinoamericano de Seguridad y Democracia [Latin American Institute for Security and Democracy] (ILSED), Argentina; Álvaro Castro and Nicolás Espejo of the School of Law of the Universidad Diego Portales, Chile; Andrew Coyle, professor at the International Centre for Prison Studies, King’s College, University of London; Manon Jendly, analyst with the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime, Montreal, Canada; Jenny Pontón, Associate Professor with the City Studies Program at FLACSO Ecuador; Ivo Hernández, coordinator of the Advanced Studies Area of the Arias Foundation for Peace and Development, Costa Rica; Olga Espinoza, Coordinator of the Prison Studies Area of the Centro de Estudios

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

en Seguridad Ciudadana (CESC) [Citizen Safety Studies Center] of the Universidad de Chile; Felipe Salazar, research assistant with the Security and Citizenry Program at FLACSO, Chile; the International Committee of the Red Cross; and Colonel Gilbert Henríquez Cáceres, Director General of Penal Institutions of El Salvador and Secretary Pro Tempore of the Commission of Directors of Prison Systems of Meso-America and the Dominican Republic (CODISIPE) We also appreciate the support that the following persons provided in compiling information in the various countries studied: Verónica Martínez Solares, a researcher with the International Organization for Victim Assistance and a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Legal Research of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; Fernando Cafferata, Coordinator of Criminal Statistics of the PESED (Programa de Estudios sobre Seguridad y Estado de Derecho) [Program of Studies on Security and the Rule of Law] of the CIDE (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económica), Mexico, and Research and Teaching Assistant at the Universidad de San Andrés in Argentina; Inés Cruzalegui, Research and Teaching Assistant at the Universidad de San Andrés; Javier Monterroso and Héctor Oswaldo Samayoa with the Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales de Guatemala [Guatemalan Institute for Comparative Studies in Penal Sciences] (ICCPG); Daniel Pontón, advisor to Ecuador’s Ministry of Coordination of Homeland and External Security; and Armando Carballido, consultant with the United Nations Development Programme. Finally, we are grateful to the officials of the Chilean Police Force, Enrique Aracena, Claudia Vergara and Consuelo Sepúlveda for their contributions and abiding support.

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The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

1. The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean 1.1 Penal institutions: their place in the structure and policy of government. Prisons and penitentiaries play a key role in the criminal justice system. One of the principal functions of that system –but not the only one- is to enforce the punishment imposed upon those who have committed a criminal offense. On the other hand, rehabilitation and re-socialization must also be an important part of the role that prisons play. Recent history shows that in Latin America, prisons have on a number of occasions been used to perpetrate injustices and even human rights violations. The direct force that prison institutions use in order to keep increasing numbers of persons incarcerated has become a matter of growing concern for various international organizations. One of the issues that must still be resolved is the need for a clear-cut separation of the functions of the police, the justice system and the prison system. In developed countries attention has been drawn to the fact that even now, the law enforcement agency in charge of prisons may also be in charge of police and internal security. In other words, administration and control of prisons is in the hands of the same ministry responsible for the police and internal security, which may blur the separate functions that police and the prison service perform and may also jeopardize the necessarily close interaction between the judiciary and the prison service (OECD, 2007). A paramount objective of the civilian leadership in the administration of the prison systems should be to contribute to the public welfare in furtherance of the rule of law and to respect the human rights of all those involved (prisoners and prison personnel alike). Finally, a code of ethics in the management of prisons must be crafted in order to avoid any type of abuse of power and to more clearly delineate what inmates can and cannot do. All prison authorities must be apprised of those principles in order to ensure respect for the quality of life of the inmates, prison personnel and visitors. Because criminal investigation, criminal prosecution and criminal punishment are essentially different functions, it is all the more important that there be a clear structural separation between the prison system, the police and the military. Placing these institutions under different ministries may be an effective tactic. In some countries of the region, the prison system is under a ministry, whereas in others it is an autonomous national system that answers administratively to some authority of the central, state or regional government. Table 1. Prison systems in the Caribbean: the government department to which they answer and the prison administrations, 2008 Caribbean

Ministry responsible

Administration

Barbados

Home Affairs

Her Majesty’s Prison, Harrison Point

Belize

Home Affairs

Kolbe Foundation, Belize Central Prison

Dominican Republic

OfďŹ ce of the Attorney General of the Republic

General Bureau of Prisons

Jamaica

Ministry of National Security and Justice

Department of Correctional Services

Source: prepared by author, 2008.

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It is the relationship with the Ministry of Justice that highlights the link between judicial process and detention (Coyle, 2002). In many cases examined in the region, the prison systems came under the umbrella of the Ministry of Justice. However, there are a number of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean where the ministries of homeland affairs run both the prison system and the police service. This is an understandable arrangement in the case of small states that do not have sufficient human and financial resources to separate judicial from security functions. This is the case for some countries in the Caribbean, where prison administrations are under the ministries in charge of home affairs (Belize and Barbados). National security and justice may also come under the umbrella of the same ministry (Jamaica). This also happens in some Central American countries (El Salvador and Panama1). Costa Rica is the only country in the Central American subregion in which prison functions and security functions are entirely separate. The country’s General Bureau of Social Adaptation –which runs the prisons- and the Penitentiary Police are both under the Ministry of Justice, whereas the other police services come under the authority of other ministries.2 Table 2. Prison systems in Central America: the government department to which they answer and the prison administrations, 2008 Central America

Ministry responsible

Administration

Costa Rica

Ministry of Justice

General Bureau of Social Adaptation

El Salvador

Ministry of Public Security and Justice

General Bureau of Penal and Re-adaptation Institutions

Guatemala

Ministry of Government

General Bureau of the Prison System

Honduras

Secretariat of Security

General Bureau of Special Preventive Services

Mexico

Secretariat of Public Security

Decentralized administrative body for Prevention and Social Re-adaptation

Nicaragua

Ministry of Government

National Bureau of the Prison System

Panama

Ministry of Government and Justice

General Bureau of the Prison System

Source: prepared by author, 2008.

In South America, on the other hand, most of the prison bureaus are departments of the ministry of justice and have no other authority in the area of public security or internal affairs. Prison services that are not part of justice but are run instead by the ministries of the interior are the exception, as in the case of Bolivia, Ecuador and Uruguay. In these three cases, the roles of the various institutions (the police and prison administrations) are more closely conjoined than in the normal government department.

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

For example, in Bolivia the National Police’s functions include those of maintaining and organizing criminal records, maintaining security at prison institutions and the safety of inmates, and participating in their rehabilitation (Organic Law of the National Police, No. 734 of April 8, 1985, Article 7). In Ecuador, the National Police are called in when riots or other emergencies break out in prisons. In Uruguay, the police “shall incarcerate offenders, if necessary, in order to bring them before the competent authorities. (…) It shall comply with release orders and remand persons tried and convicted to the custody of the corresponding penal institutions” (Law 13,936 of December 28, 1971, Article 3). In Colombia and Peru, the respective police forces are separate from the penitentiary services; however, the police do have a role in prison security and in transporting individuals convicted and sentenced. In Colombia, this arrangement may be a function of the way in which the armed conflict has shaped security-related policies. In fact, there have been military incursions in prisons to stave off supposed attacks by the FARC in an attempt to break out their imprisoned comrades (Prensa Latina, July 10, 2008). Table 3. Prison systems in South America: the government department to which they answer and the prison administrations South America

Ministry responsible

Administration

Argentina

Ministry of Justice, Security and Human Rights

Federal Penitentiary Service and provincial governments

Brazil

Ministry of Justice

National Penitentiary Department

Bolivia

Ministry of Government

General Bureau of the Penitentiary System and Supervision

Chile

Ministry of Justice

Gendarmerie of Chile

Colombia

Ministry of Justice and Law

National Penitentiary and Prison Institute

Ecuador

Ministry of Government Services

National Rehabilitation Bureau

Paraguay

Ministry of Justice and Labor

Office of the Director General of Penal Institutions

Peru

Ministry of Justice

National Penitentiary Institute

Uruguay

Ministry of the Interior

National Bureau of Prisons, Penitentiaries and Recovery Centers

Venezuela

Ministry of the People’s Power for the Interior and Justice

General Bureau of Inmate Custody and Rehabilitation

Source: prepared by author, 2008.

As the report will show, the highest rates of incarceration are in countries with stable democracies. This may be because they have more economic resources available for incarceration. While the heavier reliance on the punitive approach and consequent higher rates of incarceration may be indicative of more effective crime control, it may also signal an uneven distribution of the greater economic growth (Ungar, 2003). Short-term policies on this and other subjects conspire against the kind of real reforms that will succeed in the long run under the right set of political and administrative circumstances, as the capacity of the executive branch and the effectiveness of the legislatures play an important role in proposing initiatives and in implementing reforms. 19


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Hence the importance of putting together the policy and technical teams most closely involved in prison work. The reforms proposed and implemented in recent years mainly address the problems of overcrowding and overpopulation. Some of these reforms call for the construction of more prisons; others call for what are –mistakenly– believed to be more efficient institutions to take over administration of prisons, such as private institutions or the military. Uruguay, a country in which the administration of prisons is in the hands of the Ministry of the Interior, has started to discuss the possibility of changing this arrangement so that the National Bureau of Prisons would no longer be under the authority of the Ministry of the Interior.3 However, the debate at the political level was set off by a proposal to reduce overcrowding by handing over two military facilities to the Ministry of the Interior, which would then convert them into penitentiaries. The Ministry’s position was that this proposal would not solve the problem. However, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Prison System said that custody of the inmates should be the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior; military personnel, it said, could guard the perimeter of correctional facilities (Observa, May 30; Espectador, June 3, 2008). The transfer of military facilities or correctional facilities of any other kind might be considered if the authorities in charge of the prisons are properly trained; otherwise it would confound the very purpose of the initiative. 1.2 Types of correctional systems The number of correctional facilities that each institution runs varies significantly, according to the size of each country’s inmate population. The types of penal institutions can also be difficult to compare, since every administration elects its modes of incarceration and the differing levels of security. On the whole, penal institutions exclusively for women are few in number. The more common arrangement is the penal institution that accommodates inmates of both sexes; the majority of the inmates are men but areas or cellblocks are set aside for women inmates. It is striking how few maximum-security prisons and semi-open penal institutions there are. Instead, prisons have maximum security areas specifically to house dangerous inmates. However, if the penal institution is overcrowded or overpopulated, proper segregation of inmates can become a very thorny problem for the prison administration. The number of police stations used as preventive detention centers can also be a problem. This situation may arise because the funds needed to build proper correctional facilities are lacking, or because the police are in charge of detention and of security in prisons, which means that they have more immediate contact with inmates. Still, their main function and the training they receive are not for prison work.

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Table 4. Penal Institutions in the Caribbean, 2008 Country

Menʼs prisons

Womenʼs Prisons

Maximum security

Total

Belize

---

---

---

1*

Barbados

---

---

---

2 (as of 2004)**

Dominican Republic

34

3

2

39

Jamaica

---

----

---

12 (as of October 2007)

St. Kitts and Nevis

---

---

---

2

Saint Lucia

---

---

---

1

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

---

---

---

2

Trinidad and Tobago

---

---

---

8

* The facility is divided into one men’s section, one women’s section, one juvenile section and 3 maximum-security sections. ** Both accommodate men and women; one is for juveniles and the other for adults. Source: prepared by author, 2008, using information supplied by the Belize Central Prison and the Dominican Republic’s General Bureau of Prisons. The data on Barbados and Jamaica are cited from the World Prison Brief, International Centre for Prison Studies. St Kitts and Nevis: Deputy Chief of Prisons, Assistant Superintendent, Ashiela Connor. Saint Lucia: Hendry Herman, Chief Correctional Officer. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Brian Andrews, Chief Prison Officer. Trinidad and Tobago: Burton Hill, General Secretary of the Prison Officers Association.

Guatemala’s General Bureau of Prisons is under the Ministry of Government and runs 18 penal institutions. Of these, 6 are for serving sentences and 12 are for preventive detention. However, another 27 incarceration facilities are run by the National Civil Police and are considered incarceration facilities because the cells in the police stations are not being used solely to hold persons in custody until they are brought before the court, but also to hold people in preventive detention and people serving sentences for misdemeanors. This is in violation of Article 19 of the Constitution of Guatemala, inasmuch as the National Civil Police, which in such cases are the parties dealing directly with persons deprived of their liberty, have no specially trained personnel and are not part of the prison system. Furthermore, the facilities run by the National Civil Police do not provide the minimum conditions necessary for re-socialization and convicted inmates are not segregated from those in preventive custody, which is required under the Constitution. Some of the history of the Guatemalan prison system is a reflection of Guatemalan politics and type of leadership. With the 1954 coup and the armed guerrilla movements that began to emerge in the 1960s, prisons built during the revolutionary period were converted into military bases and inmates were transferred to police stations and incarcerated there. The National Army controlled the prisons as long as military governments were in control, which spanned the period from 1960 to 1985. Then, with the return of democratic government and the enactment of a new Constitution, the process of building a democratic system governed by law began. The prison model introduced was progressive, flexible and humane; the model prison was to prohibit torture and any treatment that was cruel or disrespectful of the inmates’ human dignity. The new system

21


FLACSO - Chile

recognizes that the court sentence that deprives the person of his or her liberty leaves intact all other rights inherent in every human being.4 However, the provisions of the Constitution notwithstanding, Guatemala did not have a framework of laws regulating the national prison system. It was not until 2006, with passage of Legislative Decree 33-2006, the Prison System Act,5 that the reform process went underway in earnest. In effect, passage of this law was a watershed in the regulation of the rights of persons deprived of liberty, the prison system’s organizational structure, professionalization of prison personnel and the disciplinary regime; most important of all, however, this law introduces a progressive system for re-assimilating persons deprived of liberty into society. Even so, the law is just the first step, since real transformation of the prison system requires effective implementation of the law. For its part, Honduras has 24 correctional facilities, classified as follows: national penitentiaries reserved for persons serving sentences of over three years; departmental or county correctional facilities for inmates serving sentences of less than three years; and local jails for serving sentences of incarceration. Honduras also has psychiatric institutions, penal farms and educational or special treatment centers. The National Police are in charge of security at penal institutions. The Women’s Social Adaptation Center (CEFAS) is the only correctional institution in Honduras outfitted exclusively for women and has proper facilities so that infants and toddlers can remain with their mothers for their first years of life (COFADEH, 2006). El Salvador’s Penitentiary Act (Articles 72 to 80) classifies penal institutions as follows: • Preventive detention centers, used exclusively to house and guard persons being held provisionally by court order. • Facilities for serving sentences, subdivided into: regular prisons (housing inmates serving their sentence under the progressive system established by the Penitentiary Act); open penal institutions; and penal institutions for persons serving lesser sentences (for inmates serving sentences of less than a year, prison trusties or prisoners who enjoy partial liberty). • Security facilities • Special facilities to care and treat the physical and mental health of the inmates. In Mexico, the maximum security prisons that answer directly to the OADPRS are as follows: The Federal Social Re-adaptation Center (CEFERESO) No. 1 “Altiplano,” CEFERESO No. 2 “West,” CEFERESO No. 3 “Northeast,” CEFERESO No. 4 “Northwest,” and the Islas Marías Federal Penal Colony, although the criminal profile of the inmates in the penal colony could qualify it as a medium-high security facility. The Federal Psycho-social Rehabilitation Center is a mediumsecurity facility. Considering the increase in the number of inmates nationwide, there has been a steady decline in the number of prisons. In just the last five years, 13 of those facilities have been formally shut down.

22


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

In that same five-year period, the number of prison beds increased by 10,992, which is not enough to accommodate the number of new inmates incoming. The names of the various institutions also differ according to the functions that each is called upon to serve, the government authority to which each one answers or the legal regulations by which the institution is governed. Some of the prison classification names are as follows: Social Re-adaptation Center, Social Re-education Center, Regional Center for Social Re-adaptation, Comprehensive Regional Justice Center, Center for Prevention and Social Re-adaptation, Center for Payment of the Legal Consequences of Crime, and the Federal Social Re-adaptation Center. Table 5. Penal Institutions in Central America and Mexico, 2008 Country

Menʼs Prisons

Womenʼs Prisons

Maximum Security

Other

Total

11 semi-institutional centers accommodating both men and women; one juvenile facility accommodating both genders, and 14 offices monitoring persons serving alternative sentences

42

Costa Rica

14

1

El Salvador

n.d

n.d

n.d

n.d

24*

Guatemala

14

2

1

27 National Civil Police stations

45

1

n.d

24 441

Honduras Mexico

74

11

5

350 (accommodating inmates of both sexes) and one federal center for psycho-social treatment.

Nicaragua

n.d

n.d

n.d

n.d

9 (2006)*

Panama

21

4

1

26

Source: prepared by author, 2008, using data supplied by the respective prison administrations. * The only data obtained in these cases was the total number of facilities.

Another issue to be considered is the question of housing inmates that require medical treatment. Most prisons offer limited health services, mainly in the form of infirmaries. Some countries, however, have separate facilities exclusively for hospitalizing inmates. They, too, have to be counted as penal institutions. In Chile, for example, the Santiago Penitentiary has a hospital exclusively for inmates, which operates inside the prison. In Brazil, on the other hand, the prison population is so large that the country has 31 hospitals housing inmates in various states.

23


FLACSO - Chile

Table 6. State Penal Institutions in Brazil Brazil

Men

Women

Facilities housing inmates of both sexes

Total

Penitentiary

220

35

79

334

Maximum security prison

62

11

108

181

Cadena pĂşblica, which are facilities to house persons in preventive detention and requiring maximum security

261

0

191

452

Halfway houses

25

6

17

48

Farm, industrial or other colonies

27

2

7

36

Hospitals to treat inmates requiring psychiatric care

11

1

19

31

Criminological observation centers

8

0

2

10

Federal prisons

2

0

0

2

Patronage societies for released prisoners

0

0

3

3

Total

616

55

426

1097

Source: National Department of Prisons, InfoPen 2007.

In order to achieve optimum inmate segregation, Brazil has started to build federal maximumsecurity prisons, as prescribed in the 1984 Law on Execution of Criminal Sentences. To create the Federal Prison System, plans are to build 5 special maximum security prisons, with 208 beds each. Two have been opened thus far, in the second half of 2006. Another two have been completed and one is still on the drawing board. Under Decree 6,049 of February 27, 2007, which approved the Federal Prison Regulations, the purpose of federal prisons is to promote administrative execution of measures that restrict the liberty of persons either standing trial or already convicted of crimes, whose incarceration is justiďŹ ed in the interests of public safety. They are also to house persons, either in preventive detention or convicted and serving sentences, and must have disciplinary regimes that distinguish between highly dangerous criminals who pose a threat to the security of the prison and those who might be the victims of assaults inside the prison walls.6 Another objective is to ensure that leaders of organized crime are kept in maximum isolation, like the system in Mexico where organized crime comes under federal jurisdiction. Another purpose of federal prisons is to relieve the tension in state prison systems.

24


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Penal institutions in Brazil can be classified as follows: • Penal institutions: all those establishments that the courts use to house persons being held in temporary custody or convicted criminals, especially those for whom security measures have been ordered. • Penal institutions for housing older inmates over the age of 60. These may be separate institutions or special sections or separate wings of adult penal institutions. • Cadenas Públicas: facilities used to house persons in temporary custody who require maximum security. • Penitentiaries are for convicted criminals ordered to serve their prison sentence in a closed facility. - Special Maximum Security Penitentiaries are for persons sentenced to serve prison terms in closed facilities, in individual cells. - Medium- or Maximum-Security Penitentiaries are for persons convicted and sentenced to serve their terms in closed prisons, outfitted with both individual and group cells. • Farm, Industrial or Other Colonies are for inmates serving their sentence in an open regime. • Halfway Houses are for persons who have received sentences that restrict liberty under an open system, or with weekend restrictions. • Criminological Observation Centers are open or maximum security penal institutions where the criminological tests are conducted and then sent to the technical classification committees that will decide to which type of penal institution each person must be sent. • Hospitals to treat inmates requiring psychiatric care are penal institutions for persons for whom security measures have been ordered.

25


FLACSO - Chile

Table 7. Penal Institutions in South America, 2008 Country

Menʼs Prisons

Womenʼs Prisons

Maximum Security

Others

Total

29 federal and 189 provincial

228

426*

1,097

n.d

n.d

89 (2003)

1

4 facilities accommodating both men and women, 2 special facilities, 6 privately-operated facilities, 20 semi-open, 49 open, 8 post-penitentiary facilities

167

Argentina Brazil

616

55

Bolivia

n.d

n.d

Chile

73

4

Colombia

128

12

7

140

4 provisional detention centers run by the National Police, and 4 centers for the pre-release phase

49

2 (semi-open)

14

3 housing inmates of both sexes (in separate cellblocks)

80

13 housing inmates of both sexes in separate cellblocks

29***

3 military, 18 penal institutions under the authority of the Ministry of Justice

37

Ecuador

36

5

Paraguay

11

2

Peru

65

9

Uruguay

27

2

Venezuela

15

1

**

2 for men and 1 for women

n.d

* Breakdown in Table 6. **1 cellblock in Quito’s Social Rehabilitation Center and 1 in the Guayaquil Coastal Penitentiary guarded and policed by the National Police. *** 12 of the establishments for men have an independent sector for women and 4 of the sectors for women have police quarters, while one of the sites is one of high security. Source: prepared by the author, 2008, using information supplied by the respective prison administrations.

26


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

The Argentine prison system is organized around two types of institutions: federal and provincial. The national government administers the Federal Prison System, whereas each provincial government has the authority to organize and administer its own prison system. At the present time, however, not every province has an independent penitentiary system, which means that the custody of persons deprived of their liberty is delegated to police officials and those persons are held in either police lockups or town halls or transferred to prisons in the Federal Prison System. Thus, the inmate population in Argentine prisons consists of persons who have been tried and convicted either by federal courts or provincial courts. The facilities that are part of the Federal Prison System are, in principle, to house persons tried and convicted of crimes that come under federal jurisdiction and crimes that come under the jurisdiction of the regular courts and were committed in the city of Buenos Aires (Kessler, 2005). In Ecuador, the police are formally in charge of 4 provisional detention centers; 37 facilities are run by the National Social Rehabilitation Bureau (DNRS). The maximum security prisons are, in fact, special cellblocks inside Social Rehabilitation Center No. 1 (what was once Quito’s García Moreno Prison) and Guayaquil’s Coastal Penitentiary. The National Police are in charge of guarding and controlling these cellblocks. The other facilities, however, are operated by the DNRS using prison guards. The DNRS is also responsible for four penal institutions called “trust houses,” where inmates go prior to release or for the pre-release period. In Colombia, the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute (INPEC) is currently in charge of 140 penal institutions nationwide. These facilities are managed by six bureaus under the Office of the Director General and Executive Board of INPEC: Regional Bureau 1 (Central Region), Regional Bureau Number 2 (Western Region), Regional Bureau Number 3 (Northern Region), Regional Bureau Number 4 (Eastern Region), Regional Bureau Number 5 (Northwestern Region) and Regional Bureau Number 6 (Viejo Caldas Region). The national prison institutions are created, merged, directed, and administered by INPEC, which also selects their location. Centers for individuals previously detained and convicted of violations that carry penalties involving deprivation of liberty, by order of a police authority, are directed, organized and administered by the departments, municipalities and metropolitan areas under INPEC’s control (Galvia, 2003). Colombia’s plan to end overcrowding includes construction of new penal institutions. But some thought has also been given to the idea of selling the land on which prisons located inside cities sit. Because they are very valuable commercial properties, the profit that could be made from selling them could be used to build a new penal institution elsewhere, on less valuable land (2008, July 23 and July 7). Financially speaking, this may look like a good idea. However, locating the prisons far from the city will create difficulties for staff (who will have to travel longer distances to their place of work). And it will also create problem for relatives of inmates, who will have to spend more (money and time) to visit their loved ones. On the other hand, in Medellín a model of what the synergy between prison and society should be has been introduced by way of the “Crime Doesn’t Pay” program, in which children and youth from neighboring communities hear testimony from those who committed a crime (July 23, 2008).

27


FLACSO - Chile

In Venezuela, 10 of the 15 penal institutions for men are penitentiaries, whereas only one penitentiary is for women. However, nationwide there are another 15 annexes for women inmates in the men’s penitentiaries. The military facilities are known as “Military Convicts Centers.” There are also 12 juvenile internment centers8 which are included in the Classification of Penal Institutions because they are not part of the National Prison System run by the Ministry of the People’s Power for the Interior and Justice. In this case, as elsewhere in Latin America, there are infrastructure problems. With the passage of time, the facilities have been neglected and have fallen into considerable disrepair, which has affected the inmates’ quality of life. Many of these sites do not have fully functioning plumbing systems and the prisoners themselves have destroyed (or seriously damaged) the interior and furnishings in order to get materials with which to fashion weapons.9 The severe overcrowding and the rundown condition of the prisons have made them a hostile environment, which is why so many fights break out over the more habitable space. Uruguay’s entire prison system is under the Ministry of the Interior, but in practical terms it is not a unified system because not all the penal institutions are under the authority of the same bureau or agency. According to the National Director of Prisons, Penitentiaries and Rehabilitation Centers (DNCyCR), it is a “splintered system”:10 8 establishments are under the authority of the DNCyCR; 19 are under the Headquarters of Departmental Police Forces; and one National Rehabilitation Center11 (CR) answers directly to the secretariat of the Ministry of the Interior. The last institution in the prison system is the National Patronage Society for Prisoners and Released Prisoners and the departmental patronage societies, whose purpose is to get released prisoners re-assimilated into society. Women, for their part, serve their sentences in two types of facilities, depending on the jurisdiction: the city hall jail (exclusively for women) and women’s cellblocks in local police headquarters. Some 38% are in the departmental facilities. Of these department facilities, the women’s cellblocks housing the highest number of female inmates are: los Canelones and “Las Rosas” in Maldonado. The prison farms (open system) are under the departmental police headquarters and, as a rule, are wings of jails. Lastly, Chile is unique because it has implemented a model that combines public and private resources by creating prison concessions, where all services such as food, hygiene and reassimilation are the responsibility of the firm that built the facility. However, the Gendarmerie is still in charge of prison security. While the new facilities have improved conditions for inmates, they have also been criticized because the expected cost savings have not materialized.

28


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Quite the contrary, in these new prisons the costs per inmate are higher (Dammert and Díaz, 2005) and suicides are on the rise12 (because of the loss of the sense of community, the shift in power relations and how difficult it is for family to visit the more remote facilities). Their original capacity was quickly exceeded (Escobar and González, 2006). A parliamentary committee is looking into the concessions process because of delays in delivering projects and the fact that contractors have not been paid. 1.3 Prison budget: reintegration and re-adaptation? While prisons are expected to care for and guard the persons incarcerated within their walls, they also have a rehabilitative function. By way of example, Article 1 of the Organic Law of the Chilean Gendarmerie, No. 2,859 (1979) reads as follows: “The Gendarmerie of Chile is a public service under the authority of the Ministry of Justice, whose purpose is to keep custody of, guard and rehabilitate persons who were detained or deprived of their liberty by order of a competent authority.” Article 2 of Guatemala’s Disciplinary Regime Law, Decree 33 of 2006, reads as follows: “The prison system must concern itself with re-adaptation and re-education of inmates.” However, none of the prison budgets of these two countries and of the other countries discussed below makes inmate re-assimilation a priority. The amounts earmarked for re-adaptation, reeducation and re-assimilation are always small and in most cases do not represent more than 1% of the budget. In Belize, for example, the amount earmarked for personnel expenditures has increased by 10 percentage points of the total over the last four years, while the amount earmarked for reassimilation programs went from just 0.5% to 1.5% in that same period. Other important factors to be considered to determine whether inmates are being held under conditions befitting human dignity are health and items like food and infrastructure. These, too, however, do not appear to be priority considerations, as the amounts earmarked for health care are as small as the amounts earmarked for rehabilitation and have not seen any appreciable increase in recent years. Finally, spending on food and other supplies has decreased by the same percentage that spending on personnel has increased.

29


FLACSO - Chile

Graph 1. Evolution of the budget of the Belize Central Prison (2004-2007)

Source: Belize Central Prison database, 2008.

Costa Rica’s budget for the prison system earmarks slightly more for health care services than the other Central American countries do. Supplies like food represent a smaller share of the total budget, while spending on health care has hovered at around 7%. In absolute terms, the total budget has increased year over year. However, the largest increase is always in the line item for personnel; next is health care (62%); the item for supplies ďŹ gures last (35%). Graph 2. Evolution of the budget for the prison system in Costa Rica (2004-2007)13

Source: prepared by author, 2008, with information from La Gaceta, Laws Nos. 8398-8428-8490-8562 of the Regular and Special Budget of the Republic for the period 2004-2005-2006-2007, respectively.

30


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

In the period from 2003 to 2006, the budget approved for the prison system increased by some 19.5 million dollars, to 20.37 million, for a cumulative annual growth rate of 1.6%. The executed budget was at Q149.7 million in 2003 and Q154.2 million in 2006, for a cumulative annual growth rate of 1.0%. It represented 0.54% and 0.42% of the general budget of State revenues and expenditures for each of those two years.14 Graph 3. Guatemala’s prison budget (2003-2006)

Source: prepared by author, 2008, using data from the Observatory of Criminal Justice, First Report Guatemala, Guatemalan Institute of Comparative Studies in Penal Sciences [Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales de Guatemala] and data supplied by the Ministry of Public Finance.

The imbalance is even more pronounced in Panama. While most all the items account for a greater percentage share or the same percentage share of the total, the amount for re-assimilation programs has decreased both in relative and absolute terms. Spending on health care services has remained virtually constant, while the expenditures for personnel and miscellaneous inputs have increased by 58% and 78%, respectively, over the 2004 ďŹ gures.

31


FLACSO - Chile

Graph 4. Evolution of the budget for the prison system in Panama

Source: prepared by author, 2008, using data supplied by the OfďŹ ce of the Director General of the Prison System.

In Chile, re-assimilation and health care services account for the smaller percentages, although spending on each item taken individually has increased. The spending on re-assimilation programs is double what it was in 2004, while the spending on health has increased by 50%. Graph 5. Evolution of the budget for the prison system in Chile

Source: INE, Prensa (internet), Sigfe, Budget Act, decrees and reports by the Chilean Gendarmerie.

32


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

In the case of Ecuador, while the distribution of assigned budget over the last three years has not been consistent, the overall trend since 2000 has been upward, with the annual increase averaging over 35.4%. Nevertheless, budget execution was 87.2% in 2007 and only 77.6% in 2005. The spending on personnel represented the largest share of the prison budget, at 62.5%, 62.1% and 66.8% in 2005, 2006 and 2007, respectively. Spending on re-assimilation programs, on the other hand, dropped from 25.2% of the total budget in 2005 to 20.1% in 2007. Graph 6. Evolution of the budget for the prison system in Ecuador

Source: prepared by author, 2008, using data from the National Bureau for Social Rehabilitation.

In the case of Paraguay, no data were found on the amount spent on re-assimilation or rehabilitation programs. More serious still, however, is the fact that the Inter-Institutional Commission’s report for 2006 reveals that most directors of penal institutions “had no idea what budget had been earmarked for their prisons” (Mendoza de Acha, 2006:42). The report states that action on the directors’ requests is “in kind,” which makes the process very slow and complicated. The report also suggests that another revenue stream exists apart from the budget, in the form of proceeds derived from the use or usufruct of “private areas” (rooms or cells “leased” to inmates) and from the staff canteen. Combined, these create an added revenue stream of some 300 million Guaraní (Mendoza de Acha, 2006:42). This almost equals the entire amount that the prison system as a whole spends on health care services. As a rule, many of the juvenile facilities have extra-budgetary funds that come from religious foundations. The Ministry of Finance reports that overall, in 2007 the Ministry of Justice and Labor executed a total of 38.450 billion Guaraní on the custody and rehabilitation of inmates.15 However, these figures do not entirely square with the figures provided for this report.

33


FLACSO - Chile

The Ministry of Finance also indicates that the Ministry of Justice and Labor has assisted 6,142 individuals under its Inmate Custody and Rehabilitation Program.16 Again, that figure does not match the data supplied for this report. Finally, the execution of the budget for Program 9, a project of the Ministry of Justice and Labor for “Expansion and Modernization of Prisons,” is of particular concern. The program planned to spend 15.242 billion Guaraní; the amount actually spent was 11.454 billion Guaraní. Most of the spending was on construction and renovation of four penal institutions: Pedro J. Caballero, San Pedro, Emboscada and Paraguarí. Upon closer scrutiny, however, one finds that the work actually completed under the program fell well short of the mark. Only the San Pedro Prison was completed. While stage 1 of the work on the Emboscada Prison was completed, planning of stage 2 only recently went underway in 2008. The Paraguarí prison was not built and the funds earmarked for the construction work on that prison were reprogrammed. Finally, the construction work on the Pedro Caballero Regional Penitentiary, where inmates outnumber space by 80%, has been suspended.17 If one examines the budget figures, one might conclude that they do not appear to be an accurate portrayal of how the funds earmarked for prisons were actually used. Graph 7. Evolution of the budget for the prison system in Paraguay

Source: General Source: Office of the Director General of Penal Institutions

34


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

In Peru, the situation has changed little over the years: the largest item in the prison system’s budget is personnel and other unspeciďŹ ed line items; no information was provided about spending on re-assimilation programs and health care. And while the amounts earmarked for those two items has more than doubled since 2004, they still represent only small shares of the total. Graph 8. Evolution of the budget for the prison system in Peru

Source: prepared by author, 2008, using data supplied by the National Prison Institute.

35


FLACSO - Chile

Lastly, Uruguay’s DNCyCR spends the bulk of the prison system’s budget on salaries and social security contributions (around 60% of the total); consumer goods are the second most important expenditure (at approximately 15% of the total). The spending item that is third in importance are non-personnel services, which account for 9% of the total prison budget. Comparing the amounts spent in the period from 2005 to 2007, one finds significant budgetary improvements, mainly in the daily amount spent per inmate. In 2005, it was 190 Uruguayan pesos, whereas in 2007 it was US$14.90 (19.05 Uruguayan pesos to the dollar). So the daily amount spent per inmate in 2007 was approximately 285 Uruguayan pesos. Thus, in the space of 2 years, the amount spent per inmate increased by some 95 Uruguayan pesos (approximately 50%). If construction spending is added in, the amount spent per inmate increases to 335 Uruguayan pesos. If the only expenditure considered is the amount spent on food, then the figure drops to 37 Uruguayan pesos. At the current exchange rate, approximately US$1.90 is the amount spent on each inmate each day. Category

Amount (in dollars)

%

Consumer goods

3,276,649

15

Fuels

228,782

1

Lubricants

116,639

1

Non-personnel services

1,843,478

9

UTE

1,006,950

5

OSE

1,381,933

7

ANTEL

404,448

2

Leasing

68,368

0

Salaries and social security contributions

12,540,478

59

Machinery and Equipment

375,526

2

Total

21,243,251

100

Source: Prepared by Fernando Cafferata, with data provided by the DNCyCR for 2007.

36


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Information, transparency and protection: the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment By Alvaro Castro* and Nicolás Espejo**. In the last two decades, Latin America has seen a wave of reforms to the criminal justice system.18 Those reforms have sought to replace the inquisitorial systems of criminal justice with adversarial court proceedings governed by the principle of oral argument and the principle of immediacy. The extent of the reform and the success achieved vary. Still, it would not incorrect to suggest that this movement to reform criminal procedure has been structured to make punishment under the criminal justice system more effective, while at the same time respecting the rights and guarantees of the accused and those standing trial.19 However, these reforms have done nothing to change the main problems in the Latin American prison systems. Conditions inside prisons are still brutal; torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment continue to be practiced against incarcerated adults and juveniles; the lack of sentence enforcement judges to monitor service of sentence and the absence of judicial and administrative mechanisms to supervise observance of rights remain chronic problems. All these factors and others have created a peculiar paradox. In general terms, persons accused of and standing trial for crimes now have access to more modern systems of criminal procedure –with mechanisms to protect their rights; but those convicted and sentenced to prison or those being held in provisional detention face an utterly demeaning prison system. Compounding the problem is the fact that very little information on how prisons operate is available and accessible. This has made it nearly impossible to identify improper practices, to determine the size and characteristics of the inmate population, and to inspect and oversee the delivery of basic services like water, food and education.20 For many years, the public has been unable to know how prisons function and how prisoners are treated. In practice, what goes on inside a prison and the practices cultivated inside prison walls are virtually unknown. The result has been that prison personnel and officials are subject to virtually no oversight or accountability; the inspection and oversight systems for prisons are much weaker than those instituted for the other machinery of the State or the market.21 Transparency and civil society’s ability to monitor public administration are vital, particularly so in the case of penal institutions. One of the most effective means to compile information and prevent violation of inmates’ rights is regular, unannounced visits by persons who are independent of and not accountable to the prison system.

37


FLACSO - Chile

The idea of independent, outside monitoring of incarceration facilities has gained broad acceptance in recent years. In comparative law, it is widely accepted that one of the strongest safeguards against torture and mistreatment is making incarceration facilities as transparent as possible, by allowing members of the public regular, consistent access to them.22 At the same time, with adoption of the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on December 18, 2002, International Human Rights Law now expressly recognizes that a system of regular visits is essential. Article 1 of that international instrument states that the objective of the Protocol is to “establish a system of regular visits undertaken by independent international and national bodies to places where people are deprived of their liberty, in order to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” The fact that the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture has become part of the domestic laws of nations, particularly in the American countries, has been a key factor in improving the penal systems and protecting rights.23 It is essential that the Subcommittee for Prevention of Torture and a national torture-prevention body are able to make periodic visits inside prisons. Both mechanisms –one international and the other domestic- can work in tandem, share information, make prison systems more transparent and ultimately lend credibility and legitimacy to the State’s punitive function. These visiting committees must strictly adhere to the principles of independence, participation and disclosure. In some of the early and most talked-about experiments underway –like the inter-institutional commissions for oversight of the Chilean Juvenile Justice Systemmembers of civil society have had difficulty gaining access to the juvenile facilities and there have been troubling delays in the publication of the commissions’ findings. If problems like this persist, they will jeopardize any possibility of achieving significant improvements in the prison systems. * Professor, School of Law, Universidad Diego Portales. ** Masters in International Human Rights Law (Oxford), Doctor of Laws (Warwick).

38


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

39


RSS

Description of the inmate population


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

2. Description of the inmate population 2.1 Overpopulation: fewer prisoners or more prisons? Prison overpopulation and overcrowding are problems that few countries manage to avoid. This is not to say that all prisons are functioning overcapacity. Overcapacity is a function of the type of inmates that the facility receives and its location. As will be discussed later in this report, prisons located in major urban centers are those with the highest inmate density. While some countries have invested in building new prisons, the inmate population is growing rapidly and the prison system does not always manage to adapt itself to accommodate that increase in the inmate population. When looking at the figures on the annual prison population24 in Latin America, one finds that increase is a constant in almost all the countries. Because their prison population is so large, Mexico and Brazil are charted in a separate graph. In both countries, the prison population increases every year. However, since early 2000 the growth of the inmate population in Brazil has been more explosive, while Mexico’s prison population has tended to stabilize. Even so, its prison population is double what it was in the 1990s. Brazil’s inmate population is up 148% in the last 10 years, and 37% in the last 5 years. In Mexico, the growth rate of the prison population is not quite as strong: the prison population increased by 97% in the last 10 years and by 13% in the last 5 years. However, the difference between the two countries is greater when it comes to overpopulation or capacity excess, which is 88% in Brazil but only 33% in Mexico. This figure is very similar to Argentina’s, which is another country organized by the federal system.25 In Brazil, a report by a parliamentary committee studying the prison situation recounts the poor conditions and overcrowding in a system designed for a much smaller inmate population than what it has and where 80% of inmates are not working and 82% are not studying. Prison conditions are unhealthy; the food is bad and the portions meager. In fact, in some prisons, saltpeter is added to the food to give inmates a false sense of satisfaction and blunt sexual appetite (June 24, 2008).

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FLACSO - Chile

Graph 9. Evolution of the prison population in Brazil and Mexico

Source: prepared by author, 2008. See itemization in annex. Brazil, 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2000 to 2007, data from InfoPen 2007. Mexico: 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2000 to 2003, Azaola (2003), and 2004 to 2007, information from the Secretariat of Federal Public Security.

As noted, the national inmate population must be taken as a general figure, as on a prison-byprison basis, not every prison is overpopulated. Thus, for example, in Mexico 6 centers are federal facilities, 10 come under the Federal District’s jurisdiction, 331 are state institutions and 95 are municipal. But 9 federal units account for 60.7% of the total prison population. Those located in the Federal District are the most overpopulated (94.4%) and have experienced an appreciable influx of highly dangerous inmates from the federal jurisdiction (from a total of 3,258 registered in 2000, to 4,198 in the first third of 2008).26 Mexico’s Federal District can accommodate 18,340 prisoners in its 10 facilities; but as of April 2008, those facilities were housing 35,661. Of these, 95% are men and the rest women. Of the total, 31,297 inmates are accused of common crime; of these, 10,096 are facing criminal prosecution, while the rest have not been sentenced. In other words, the overpopulation total of 17,321 inmates could drop if prosecution of pending court cases was accelerated (Vicenteño, July 15, 2008).

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Graph 10. Mexican states with the highest concentration of prisoners

Source: prepared by author using data from the Secretariat of Federal Public Security, 2007.

The other states with the highest number of inmates are the State of Mexico, with 18,247; Baja California, with 18,109; Jalisco, with 15,640, and Sonora with 12,850. As of July 2008, four of the federal units with the highest number of inmates also have high murder rates involving organized crime (killings between members of various drug cartels or where the victims are law enforcement officers), especially drug trafficking: Baja California (161), Chihuahua (587), the state of Mexico (144), Michoacán, and Sinaloa, which has fewer prisoners than the other states but a high number of detainees (247).27 The situation in the Caribbean varies from one country to the next. In Belize and Jamaica, the inmate population has increased since 2000. Belize has seen the more dramatic percentage increase -more than 100%- from 617 prisoners in 1992 to 1,327 in 2007. If one ten-year period is examined –the period from 1997 to 2007-, the increase was 27%. In Jamaica, the increase in the prison population has been less dramatic, and has gone from 3,505 in 1992, 3,489 in 1999, to 3,889 in 2007, for a 15% increase from 1997 to 2007. While Jamaica’s total prison population has seen much more moderate growth, it has an 11% overpopulation rate. Belize’s prison system, on the other hand, has not exceeded its capacity, despite the increase in the number of inmates. On the other hand, no clear trend is apparent in the Dominican Republic. The prison population is up in some years and down in others, with large differences. However, as of July 2008, overpopulation in the Dominican prison system was at around 91%. In other words, it is operating at almost double its capacity. Data on Barbados are available for only two years: in 2002, Barbados had 850 people incarcerated; and in 2007 it had 997,28 suggesting that the country has not seen its inmate population explode.

43


FLACSO - Chile

Barbados and Belize are the only countries in Latin America and the Caribbean whose prison systems are still operating within their capacity limits. Data on the capacity of the prison systems in the other Caribbean countries are not available, but the 2008 figures on the number of inmates per 100 thousand inhabitants are quite high: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has 309 inmates for every 100 thousand inhabitants; the figure for Trinidad and Tobago is 318. Graph 11. Evolution of the inmate population in the Caribbean

Source: prepared by the author, 2008. Belize: data for 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2001-2003 and 2006, World Prison Brief of the International Centre for Prison Studies; 2005, Report of Justice 2006/2007/JSCA; and 2007 figure, the administration of the Belize Central Prison. Jamaica: the figures for all years are statistics of the Department of Correctional Services. Dominican Republic: figures for 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2001 and 2003, World Prison Brief of the International Centre for Prison Studies; and 2006-2007 figures from the General Bureau of Prisons.

In all the Central American countries, inmate population is up significantly. Guatemala’s increased by 24% between 1996 and 2007, although in the last five years it is 10% off the peak it reached in 2003. Like the other countries of the region, Guatemala’s prison system is overpopulated and overcrowded. The 45 facilities can accommodate approximately 7,496, which means that as of June 2008, it was overcapacity by some 916 people, which is a 12% overpopulation rate. However, the overcrowding is more severe in some facilities, such as the prison in the city of Puerto Barrios in the Department of Izabal, where the overpopulation rate is 226%. Another example is the remand facility in the Department of Zacapa, which is 180% overpopulated. The countries in this region with the smallest populations and less crime are Costa Rica and Panama, yet they have more people in prisons than the other countries in the region and their prison populations have increased steadily year after year. The increase in the prison population in these two countries in the period from 1997 to 2007 was 70% and 40%, respectively. In both cases, the prison population has tripled since the early 1990s, which explains why the overpopulation in Panama is over 50% and in Costa Rica 30%.

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

The annual increase in Panama’s prison population averages 6.3%. The prison system’s capacity increased from 6,833 to 7,384 between 2000 and 2004; however, the total prison population went from 8,515 to 11,292 in the same period. So while the system’s capacity increased by 8%, the prison population increased by 32%. Thus, the prison system’s capacity continued to fall short of what was needed. For example, according to the statistics of the Ministry of Government and Justice (Niedda, 2006), in 2006 the Las Tablas prison, built to accommodate 75, had 130 inmates, which is an occupancy rate of 173%. That same year, overcrowding at the La Palma, Antón and Chitre prisons was 166%, 208% and 162%, respectively. The Citizen Audit of the Criminal Justice System (2004) finds that the overpopulation of prisons and the lack of resources make it much more difficult to achieve the objectives of rehabilitation. It also found that the facilities housing the prison population are not being built to proper technical standards. To address this problem, the Panamanian Government has crafted a plan to build new modules to house some 1,000 inmates, as well as two cellblocks and another two prisons. The plan for improving prison conditions also includes an inmate classification program and promotion of jobtraining and educational programs. The smallest increase in a ten-year period was in Nicaragua, where the prison population increased by 15% between 1996 and 2006. The prison population in Honduras increased by 29% in the period from 1995 to 2005. The condition of the Honduran prison system is very precarious, owing to the steady increase in the inmate population; if the figures are compared with previous years, one finds that in 1990 there were 4,579 persons incarcerated; by 2005 that figure had climbed to 11,545, which was an increase of over 130% (UNDP, 2006). Both in this case and others, the figures may vary depending on the source. For example, the National Steering Committee for Sentence Enforcement Judges in Honduras states that the prison population in that same period was 12,020 (COFADEH, 2006). El Salvador has experienced the most dramatic increase in its prison population, which was up 99% from 1997 to 2007. It is also the most overpopulated country in Central America and the second most overpopulated in all of Latin America. The figures could have been even higher, since by some estimates 80% of the crimes committed in El Salvador are never punished (July 25, 2008). This situation is even more pronounced in specific Salvadoran penal institutions like Quezaltepeque, whose inmate population exceeds its capacity by 300% or others like Mariona and San Miguel, where the overpopulation reaches 241% and 276%, respectively.29

45


FLACSO - Chile

Graph 12. Evolution of the prison population in Central America

Source: prepared by author, 2008. Costa Rica: the figures for all the years come from the Statistical Yearbook of the National Bureau of Social Adaptation [Anuario Estadístico de la Dirección Nacional de Adaptación Social], 2007. El Salvador: figures for 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2001 and 2004, the World Prison Brief, International Centre for Prison Studies; 2000 and 2007, General Bureau of Penal and Re-adaptation Institutions. Guatemala: figures for 1992, 1994 and 2001 from the World Prison Brief, International Centre for Prison Studies; figures for 1996 and 1999, Carranza (2001); 2003-2007, Database of the Guatemala’s Institute of Comparative Studies in Penal Sciences. Nicaragua: figures for 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2006, the World Prison Brief. Panama: figures for 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2000 to 2006, Report of Justice 2006-2007/JSCA; 2007 figures provided by the General Bureau of the Prison System. Honduras: figures for 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2002 and 2005, Human Development Report 2005.

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Table 8. Prison Overpopulation in Latin America and the Caribbean Caribbean Country

System capacity

Total inmate population

% overpopulation30

Absolute overpopulation

Belize

1,500 (Aug.2007)

1327 (June 2008)

0

0

Barbados

1,250 (Aug. 2008)

1,008 (Aug. 2008)

0

0

Jamaica

4,247(Oct.2007)

4,709 (Oct. 2007)

11%

462

Dominican Rep.

9,000 (2007)

17,215 (July 2008)

91%

8215

St. Kitts and Nevis

n.d

271 (Aug. 2008)

---

---

Saint Lucia

450 (Aug. 2008)

518 (Aug. 2008)

15%

68

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

n.d

402 (Aug.2008)

---

---

Trinidad and Tobago

4,386 (Aug. 2008)

3,729 (Aug. 2008)

0

0

Central America and Mexico Costa Rica

6,996 (Nov. 2004)

9,074 (June 2008)

30%

2,078

El Salvador

7,990 (2008)

18,509 (June 2008

132%

10,519

Guatemala

7,496 (June 2008)

8,412(June 2008)

12%

916

Honduras

8,280 (Dec. 2005)

11,545 (Dec. 2005)

39%

3,265

Mexico

165,747 (March 2008)

220,016 (June 2008)

33%

54,269

Nicaragua

4,567 (Dec. 2006)

6,060 (Dec. 2006)

33%

1,493

Panama

7,193 (Nov.2007)

10,978 (June 2008)

53%

3,785

Argentina

46,494 (2006)

60,621 (December 2006)

30%

14,127

Brazil

233,907 (June 2007)

426,658 (June 2008)

82%

192,751

Bolivia

4,959 (June 1999)

7,682 (October 2006)

55%

2,723

Chile

31,576 (December 2007)

48,855 (May 2008)

55%

17,279

Colombia

53,969 (June 2008)

67,609 (June 2008)

25%

13,640

Ecuador

7,463 (December 2007)

17,024 (April 2008)

128%

9,561

Paraguay

5,794 (December 2007)

6,365 (July 2008)

9%

571

Peru

23,259 (May 2008)

43,253 (May 2008)

86%

19,994

Uruguay

6,061 (December 2007)

7,106 (December 2007)

17%

1,045

Venezuela

16,909 (Oct.2005)

23,299 (July 2008)

38%

6,390

South America

Source: prepared by author, 2008, using data provided by the respective prison administrations. The exceptions were Nicaragua, Bolivia and Venezuela, whose capacity figures were taken from the World Prison Brief of the International Centre for Prison Studies; the figure on Venezuela’s prison population is from the Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons.

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FLACSO - Chile

Argentina and Chile stand out in the Southern Cone, as their prison population has increased considerably. The increase in Argentina’s case was 77% between 1996 and 2006; in Chile’s case, the increase was 74% in the 1997-2007 ten-year period. Uruguay and Paraguay have smaller prison populations that have not changed appreciably in the last three years, remaining at around 6,000 inmates in the case of Uruguay and 7,000 in Paraguay. These countries’ prison systems have been under heavy pressure, so they are all overpopulated. Overpopulation is highest in Chile at 55%; next in order is Argentina, at 30%; Uruguay, 28% and Paraguay 9%. Graph 13. Evolution of the prison population in the Southern Cone

Source: prepared by author, 2008. Argentina: figures for 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); statistics for 2002 to 2004, Unidos por la Justicia, and the 2006 figure, Borda (2008). Chile: the figures for all years are from the Gendarmerie, Anuario Estadístico 2007 [Statistical Yearbook 2007]. Paraguay: figures for 1996 to 1999, Carranza (2001); figures for 2002 to 2006 from the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School (2007), and the figure for 2007 from the General Bureau of Penal Institutions. Uruguay: figures for 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2000 to 2006, Report of Justice 2006-2007/JSCA; and the figure for 2007 provided by the National Bureau of Prisons and Rehabilitation.

The increases in the Argentine prison system can be explained by three factors: a) an increase in the rate of incarceration, b) the toughening of the laws and, by extension, of the sentences handed down, and c) a prison system that does not always abide by the minimum recruitment standards. The growing use of incarceration in Argentina is also in evidence in the Federal Penitentiary System, where the inmate population more than doubled between 1990 and 2007, from 4,473 inmates to 9,148. (Borda, Kletzel and Sapoznik, 2008: 147).

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Graph 14. Evolution of incarceration in the Federal Penitentiary Service, Argentina, 1984-2007

Source: CELS, 2008.

An example of how the penalties were stiffened and thus contributed to the increase in the inmate population is that in 1998, 4,311 convictions were handed down in the province of Buenos Aires; by 2006, that ďŹ gure had climbed to 13,429 (Borda, Kletzel and Sapoznik, 2008: 153). More and more of the sentences handed down are for incarceration for more than 5 years, whereas three-year sentences are on the decline. Detention on remand is also growing rapidly, especially in the Province of Buenos Aires where the increase is not driven by population increase or increased crime; for example, in 2005, 92% of the increase in the inmate population was due to the use of incarceration, while the remaining 8% was due to population increase (Carranza, 2006:11). As for the crime rate, in the Province of Buenos Aires crime was up 34% in the period from 1990 to 2006, whereas incarceration was up 100%. Table 9. Sentences in Buenos Aires, by Length of Sentence Year

3-year sentences % of total

5-year sentences % of total

% of sentences actually carried out

1998

80%

10%

40%

2006

62%

18%

63%

Source: Borda, Kletzel and Sapoznik (2008:153).

An important factor to be considered is that in all the provinces, a signiďŹ cant percentage of prisoners are being held in police stations, city/town jails and the border-guard stations. Many of these inmates have never been sentenced. Furthermore, the conditions in which they are being held do not meet the minimum standards. Although no proper records exist, it is safe to say that around 10% of the inmate population is being held in facilities like these.

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FLACSO - Chile

As for overcrowding, population density in many of the Argentine Federal Penitentiary Service (SPF) facilities is in excess of what international standards prescribe. The official figures on population density in the prison system indicate that the inmate population does not exceed the system’s capacity, which is currently operating at 98%. However, the prison population is poorly distributed: the prison population at 9 of the 29 establishments is well over the population density for the system as a whole. Some facilities are operating at 200% capacity; in other words, they are housing double their maximum capacity. The reliability of the data is also a problem, because the inmate population does not include persons incarcerated in police stations, municipal jails, and border-guard stations and because the criteria used to measure each prison’s real capacity are not the same for all establishments. (Borda, Kletzel and Sapoznik, 2008: 162163). For example, in the case of the U3 prison unit, the figure that the SPF reported for the month of July 2007 is 126 slots short of the number given in the October 2007 monthly report; in other words, this would mean that 126 additional slots were created in the space of less than three months. (Borda, Kletzel and Sapoznik, 2008: 166). Despite the efforts made under the Prison System Humanization and Modernization Act and those of the National Bureau of Prisons and Rehabilitation, Uruguay continues to grapple with a crisis in prison overcrowding and inmate density. As of 2007, at least 8 prisons (Treinta y Tres Orientales, Tacuarembó, San José, Rivera, Maldonado, Lavalleja, Florida, and COMCAR) were struggling with very serious problems of overcrowding; some prisons were operating at well over 200% capacity. Although according to information from the Authority of Institutional Policy and Planning Strategy of the Ministry of the Interior, the sites with the largest overpopulation until December 2007 are: Lavalleja (108%), Maldonado (119%), Rocha (116%) and the Women’s Prison (105%). There are 9 sites where the penal population is not in excess. Basically, the strategy used both by the National Bureau of Prisons and Rehabilitation and the Departmental Police Headquarters has been to relieve the pressure on urban facilities by creating new slots and redistributing inmates from urban facilities to facilities outside the city. Basically the strategy has been to send the less dangerous inmates to departmental prison farms (semi-open facilities). In Paraguay, more than 6 of 14 facilities are seriously overcrowded. The most overcrowded prison is Tacumbú. There, prison population density in 2006 was 211, so that overcrowding exceeded 100%;31 in other words, this is yet another case in which the number of inmates was double the number of slots available.

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Table 10. Overcrowding in Uruguay, by Prison % of inmate population living in overcrowded conditions, by facility Facility

2005

2006

2007

COMCAR

321.89

201.35

204.05

ERL

0

0

11.11

TABLADA

0

0

0

CABILDO

255.56

124.50

192.05

TACOMA

5.00

0

0

CR2

0

0

0

CNR

0

0

0

ARTIGAS

264.00

120.00

88.57

CANELONES

12.81

0

14.17

CANELONES MUJERES

0

0

75.56

CERRO LARGO

72.50

17.50

92.50

COLONIA

65.45

70.00

72.00

DURAZNO

90.00

31.43

45.71

FLORES

145.45

0

5.88

FLORIDA

97.78

81.63

232.65

LAVALLEJA

144.74

104.00

262.00

MALDONADO

160.00

211.33

252.67

CÁRCEL CENTRAL

0

0

0

PAYSANDÚ

46.67

134.50

76.36

RIO NEGRO

8.57

20.00

96.67

RIVERA

287.50

230.00

308.75

ROCHA

302.22

204.00

176.00

SALTO

195.00

130.00

142.50

SAN JOSÉ

240.00

135.00

257.50

SORIANO

193.33

20.00

163.33

TACUAREMBO

105.00

105.00

210.00

PASO DE LOS TOROS

0

0

0

TREINTA Y TRES

64.00

115.00

285.00

TOTAL NATIONWIDE

136.65

90.87

120.43

Source: Performance and Evaluation Report on the National Prison System, prepared by the Special Committee to Monitor the Prison System and for Dialogue with the Parliamentary Commissioner, Legislative Branch of Government of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay, 2007, p. 17.

In Chile, the highest concentrations of the prison population are in some urban prisons, especially in the capital. These facilities house 37% of the inmate population nationwide; the rest of the inmate population is spread over 12 regions. Table 11 illustrates the severe overpopulation in some penal institutions in 2006, irrespective of their location and capacity. In some cases, the inmate population far exceeded the facility’s capacity. The construction of prisons operated by concession would relieve the overcrowding, but there are no figures to show this. 51


FLACSO - Chile

Table 11. Overpopulation in Some Chilean Penal Institutions Penal Institution

Capacity

Inmate Population

% Overpopulation

CP Valparaíso CP Concepción CDP Valdivia CDP La Unión CDP Ancud CDP Santiago Sur CDP Puente Alto

1200 998 250 88 40 3170 450

2138 1978 582 180 94 5617 1529

78 98 133 104 135 77 239

Source: UDP (2007), using data as of June 2006.

In the Andean region of South America, the prison population in Colombia and Peru has increased greatly. Between 1992 and 2007, Colombia’s inmate population increased by 133%, even though it has declined by 7% in the last 4 years after peaking at 68,545 in 2004. In Peru, the inmate population increased by 129% between 1992 and 2007. Peru has not seen any decline in its prison population, which has increased by 27% in the last 4 years alone. Colombia has embarked upon a plan to build new prisons, which will perhaps reduce the overpopulation, which in 2008 is at 25%.32 In Peru, on the other hand, this figure is much higher, at 86%. However, Ecuador is the country where the overpopulation problem is most severe (128%). This is the highest in South America. In the entire hemisphere, only Barbados and El Salvador have higher rates. And this is the case even though its prison population has grown much less than in other countries, increasing by 54% between 1997 and 2007.

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

The most current data on Bolivia and Venezuela were not available. However in both cases, the figures dropped: in Bolivia by 18% between 1999 and 2005; and in Venezuela by 22% between 1997 and 2006. This does not mean that overcrowding is not a problem in the two countries. Indeed, rough estimates for Bolivia put prison overpopulation at around 55% in 2006; in Venezuela, the estimates for 2008 are 38%. In the case of Venezuela, there are reports of prisons where the percentages are much higher still; for example, the municipality of Convergencia has complained about overcrowding at the prison known as “La Cuarta,” which was built to house 120 inmates but is currently housing almost 600. The problem of overcrowding in prisons is the source of frequent fighting among inmates and makes people living in the area feel insecure (July 16, 2008). The prison situation in Venezuela could be described as a crisis, since the inmate population exceeds the capacity of existing establishments. The result is that the overall prison situation is out of control. Overcrowding is a problem despite the fact that in recent years two new prisons (Coro Prison and Tocuyito Judicial Incarceration Facility) were built. However, these two new facilities did little to ease the existing overcrowding. In 1998 a new Code of Criminal Procedure was enacted to introduce ways to shorten sentences, and the possibility of alternative or supplemental penalties. One reason why the benefits or privileges introduced with the new Code of Criminal Procedure –such as conditional release or alternative punishments- have not materialized in practice is that the Venezuelan judicial system is slow to administer justice, which has converted prisons and various penitentiaries into human warehouses holding individuals with no certain future. Almost every prison benefit or privilege that the law allows requires service of at least a portion of the sentence imposed, which is impossible when the inmates have never been convicted and sentenced. Another problem with the prisons is that inmates are not categorized. One can safely say that all individuals deprived of their liberty are being held in prisons that make no distinction for the type of crime committed or the sentence imposed, if there is one. In the statistics examined and the sources visited, one would be hard pressed to find distinctions made for age, for illnesses or infirmities, or for any other factor.

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FLACSO - Chile

Graph 15. Evolution of the prison population in the Andean countries

Source: prepared by author, 2008. Bolivia: 1997 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2000 to 2005, Report of Justice 2006-2007/JSCA. Colombia: figures for 1992 to 2003, from the Office of the Ombudsman (2004); figures for 2004 to 2007, from the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute. Ecuador: the figures for all years are from the National Bureau of Social Rehabilitation, cited in Pontón and Torres (2007). Peru: all the figures are from the National Penitentiary Institute. Venezuela: figures for 1996 to 1999, Carranza (2001), 2003, the World Prison Brief of the International Centre for Prison Studies; 2005, Report of Justice/JSCA.

According to Ecuador’s National Bureau of Social Rehabilitation (DNRS), as of April 2008 Ecuador’s prison population was at 17,024.33 The Guayaquil Coastal Prison (for men) accounts for the largest share of the inmate population, at around 26%. Next in order is the Quito Men’s Rehabilitation Center No. 1 (CRSV 1), at 5.9%. In Colombia, when the figures are broken down on a region-by-region basis, one finds that the eastern and northwestern regions are where infrastructure is most needed, as the overpopulation figures for the two regions are 37% and 48%, respectively; the northern region has a 6% overpopulation rate. The degree of overcrowding is not the same in all the prisons. For example, in Colombia the September 2007 figures were suggesting that the model prison in Bogotá had an overpopulation of 63%; Picota 77%; Vistahermosa in Cali 134%; Bucaramanga 168%; Bellavista in Medellín 96%, and Itaguí 77% (June 9, 2008). In Peru one also finds more inmates in some regions than others; the Altiplano Regional Office (Puno) is the only one that has not exceeded its prison capacity. The Lima prisons are the most overpopulated, at 127%, followed by the northeast at 119%, and the southern region at 105% overpopulation.

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Graph 16. Prison capacity and inmate population, by region, Colombia

Source: prepared by author, 2008, with data from the National Prison Institute as of June 2008.

Graph 17. Prison Capacity and Inmate Population, by Region, Peru

Source: prepared by author, 2008, using data from the National Prison Institute current to May 2008.

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FLACSO - Chile

Canada’s Correctional System By Manon Jendly* Organization, legal framework and prison system. In Canada, execution of sentences of imprisonment is the jurisdiction of the Federal Government and the provinces. Adults sentenced to less than two years in prison are placed in facilities run by the provinces, whereas those sentenced to two years and more serve their sentences in a federal penitentiary, which is part of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC).34 This brief presentation will only address the correctional model and philosophy of intervention followed by the CSC and does not concern itself with the way –sometimes drastically different way- in which each province organizes its own prison system. The CSC comes under the authority of the Ministry of Public Safety of Canada, whose function is to prepare and enforce criminal laws and policies. The CSC’s mandate is to ensure safe and humane custody and supervision of offenders and to assist the rehabilitation and reintegration into society of persons incarcerated in a federal penitentiary and those who have received early release. Only the National Parole Board (NPB) has the authority to cancel, deny and revoke parole.35 This board is completely autonomous and independent in its decisions process. The Board and the rights of prisoners are governed by the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) and its regulations (CCRR), which entered into force in 1992. These regulations materialize in the directives and permanent orders of the CSC Commissioner, and in the internal rules drawn up for each facility. The CSC is divided into five regional offices –Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies, and Pacificeach one headed by a regional deputy commissioner who is to see to proper application of the regulations. The CSC consists of 55 federal establishments, five of which are for women. Between 2006 and 2007, the total population was 13,171 offenders,36 which represents a rate of federal incarceration of around 50 offenders for every 100,000 inhabitants.37 The federal establishments (penitentiaries) are classified by degree of security: minimum, medium and maximum. One federal establishment is classified as super-maximum security and serves the entire country: the special detention unit. Lastly, each region has set up a receiving facility where all those convicted and sentenced spend a period of 3 to 6 months before being transferred to the prison considered to be the most suitable for the inmate in question.

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Objectives and philosophy of the Correctional Service of Canada Under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the CSC’s purpose is “to contribute to the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society.”38 This objective is furthered by assisting prisoners for the duration of their sentence, changing their behavior so that they are conscious of and take responsibility for their actions, so that once released they may remain law-abiding citizens. Five core values guide the Correctional Service in discharging its mission:39 1. Respect for the dignity of individuals, the rights of all members of society, and the potential for human growth and development. 2. Recognition of the fact that the offender has the potential to live as a law-abiding citizen. 3. The belief that the staff of the Service is its strength and its major resource in achieving its objectives and that human relationships are the cornerstone of the Service’s endeavor. 4. The belief that the sharing of ideas, knowledge, values and experience, nationally and internationally, is essential to the achievement of the CSC’s Mission. 5. The belief that the Service should be managed with openness and integrity. Care and custody of offenders The care and custody of offenders is built on an incarceration management model that the CSC developed in the 1980s. The model consists of three main components that together form the correctional intervention process. The first component of the process is for the offender, who undergoes a personal evaluation to determine what his or her criminal profile is. This profile is developed by compiling information on the offender’s personal, social, and economic situation, his or her medical history, court record, prison reports, and any special information (police, courts and so on) available. This exercise determines the risks that the offender poses to the community and what the security level of the facility where the offender will be placed must be. The second component is preparation of a correctional intervention plan. This planning process sets the goals for the change that one seeks to effect in the offender and, by extension, the various types of programs40 that the offender should pursue, which will mostly be cognitive-behavioral programs. The last component is oversight of the offenders inside the institutions. This monitoring involves supervision of the clinical work being done with the prisoner and the various activities in which he or she participates. The progress that the prisoner makes on his or her correctional plan, the failures he or she experiences in attempting to realize his or her plan, adaptation to the institution, general attitude and contacts with fellow prisoners are promptly evaluated. This review dictates all decisions regarding conditional release (permission to work beyond the prison walls, leave permits, the decision on parole, and so on); the review may also lead to a tougher incarceration regime. All these decisions are driven by one overriding concern, which is public safety.

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All this combines for a systematic analysis of the information compiled about the prisoner. A variety of tools for determining the probabilities of risk factors are used, such as the Statistical Information on Recidivism (SIR) scale. Correctional intervention must be a transparent process for the offender, who has a right to be informed of how the information compiled on him will be used, and the decisions taken in this regard. It is also partially transparent with respect to the public, especially the victims, who do have access to information about the offender. However, for security reasons, not all the information is disclosed. In conclusion, the correctional system of Canada is unique in its uniform, structured system of operation, partly in response to the criticism made before it took effect. It is often cited as an example because of the rights the prisoners enjoy and the quality of the treatment that the prisoners receive and their living conditions. This system, however, places a great deal of emphasis on risk assessment.41 Its style of management is particularly criticized as, for example, contributing to a reduction of sentence and leading to early release. It is also criticized for minimizing the principle of individualization of the penalty.42 * Senior Analyst with the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime, Montreal, Canada.

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Another way of examining the evolution of the prison population is as a percentage of the overall population. Looking at the situation from that angle, the picture is fairly consistent everywhere. In the Caribbean, the number of inmates per 100 thousand inhabitants is on the rise. In 2007, the ratio was highest in Belize, at 461, followed by Barbados at 339, Jamaica at 143 and the Dominican Republic at 138. The number of inmates per 100 thousand inhabitants also increased in all the Central American countries and Mexico. Costa Rica’s figure doubled, from 107 in 1992 to 206 in 2007; El Salvador’s figure more than doubled, from 101 inmates per 100 thousand inhabitants in 1992 to 260 in 2007. This ratio of inmates to general population is much more striking than plain numbers. Although Guatemala’s prison population has increased, the degree of increase has not been so significant. As a consequence, its 2007 figure was the same as the 1992 figure, which was 59 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants. Honduras, on the other hand, has seen its figure climb from 110 in 1992 to 167 in 2005. Mexico’s figure has also increased from 101 in 1992 to 164 in 2001 and 204 in 2007. In Nicaragua, while data are not available for every year, the decade of the 1990s saw significant increases. However, Panama is the country with the highest rates in Latin America: whereas in 1992 it had 176 inmates per 100 thousand inhabitants, that figure had climbed to 300 by the end of the 1990s, and in recent years has risen even higher. In 2007 it was 329 inmates for every 100 thousand inhabitants. Graph 18. The Caribbean: Number of Inmates per 100,000 Inhabitants

Source: prepared by author, 2008. Inmate population figures come from a variety of sources; the overall population data are from ECLAC’s Social Indicators and Statistics Database.

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Graph 19. Central America: Number of Inmates per 100,000 Inhabitants

Source: prepared by author, 2008. Inmate population data are from a variety of sources; the figures on the total population are from ECLAC’s Social Indicators and Statistics Database.

In South America, the highest figures are for Chile, which has had one of the most striking increases: from 148 in 1992 to 216 in 2001 and 263 in 2007. Still, it is not the country with the most overpopulated prisons. Uruguay and Brazil come in a close second and third, as their figures have also steadily increased. The figure for Uruguay went from 96 in 1992 to 224 in 2007; in Brazil the figure went from 74 in 1992 to 219 in 2007. Colombia and Ecuador had the same figure in 1992 (74), but since then Colombia has seen a greater increase in the ratio of prison population to general population, which by 2006 was 138 prisoners per 100 thousand inhabitants. Ecuador has 108 prisoners for every 100 thousand inhabitants. Peru has also seen its ratio increase, which was 77 in 1992, but 142 in 2007. While Paraguay’s prison population has doubled, the increase in the number of inmates per 100 thousand inhabitants has not been as great, as it went from 70 in 1997 to 107 in 2007. In Graph 20, the figures obtained for Venezuela indicate a drop in the number of inmates per 100 thousand inhabitants, which paralleled a steady decline in the size of the inmate population. Bolivia, on the other hand, saw its figure go up some years, and down others. But the decline in the number of inmates per 100 thousand inhabitants does not mean that prison conditions have improved. Indeed, inmates have filed complaints and rioted recently in both Venezuela and Bolivia.43

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Graph 20. South America: Number of Inmates per 100,000 Inhabitants

Source: prepared by author, 2008. Inmate population data are from a variety of sources; the figures on the total population are from ECLAC’s Social Indicators and Statistics Database.

Many prisoners around the world are not treated with the respect that their humanity demands, whether because of poverty, the prison system’s lack of resources, hostile attitudes on the part of staff, government or society in general, or a failure on the part of governments to observe human rights. Using the same punitive response for different types and degree of crime is unethical and inefficient. One effect of the tough-on-crime policies is to increase the inmate population; however, there is no correlation between increasing the number of persons behind bars and reducing crime. In fact, as prisons are filled to overcapacity, new criminal structures may be created (Kliksberg, 2008). Even so, there are still countries that opt to expand their prison complex to accommodate more offenders. For example, as previously observed, one of the solutions announced by Colombia’s Ministry of the Interior and Justice is to build 11 prisons that together will be able to accommodate 24,000 inmates; this is Colombia’s solution to the problem of overcrowding, which it expects to solve within two years. They will also be looking at amending the Law on Criminal Misdemeanors (Law No. 1153) and at installing electronic surveillance with site monitoring. The idea is to enable more people to get beyond the prison walls (July 7, 2008). However, according to news reports, little progress has been made on the 11 new prisons announced. The construction work that began on some facilities in the first half of 2007 is only 3% complete. Those that got underway in late 2007 are not even 1% complete. According to the Comptroller General, this is due to the fact that the contracts were not signed until February 2008 (June 9, 2008).

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At the same time, independent oversight in Colombia has been an important factor in bringing this sector’s problems to light, as when the Office of the Comptroller General released a report on prisons in which it stated that the rehabilitation program was a fiasco in part because of the severe overcrowding in prisons. The Office of the Comptroller General also pointed to the privileged treatment given to former members of congress or parliamentarians incarcerated because of their connections to Colombian “parapolitics” (June 9, 2008). In Ecuador, the plan titled “Prison Transformation for Real Social Rehabilitation,” put together by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, takes a comprehensive approach to the prison problem, with the emphasis on respecting the physical and mental integrity of inmates. Under the plan, investments will be made to build new prison facilities or repair existing prisons; an inmate census will be taken; microenterprise programs will be conducted, workshops will be set up and equipped to produce the products that the State requires. It also plans programs aimed at solving legal problems. Under the plan, new infrastructure will be built consisting of “penitentiary villages” in which a large prison complex would be divided into sections, each housing 240 inmates and with its own recreation areas, security and education area, all in order to provide more personalized attention. The Ministry of Justice has backed this plan by establishing the Temporary Unit for Construction of Social Rehabilitation Centers. However, as its name implies, this will not be a permanent unit (May 29, 2008). New prisons are also being built in Venezuela. The Ministry of the Interior and Justice, the Office of the Attorney General and the Supreme Court have embarked upon a dialogue to improve coordination. Other agencies like health and education will become involved as well. The government announced that technical committees will be set up to review the files of convicted inmates and consider the possibility of procedural benefits. There will also be more visits by judges and district attorneys to evaluate the prisons (June 11, 2008). The authorities themselves (the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Attorney General’s Office) have acknowledged that the backlog in the judicial system has to be corrected, as it poses tremendous problems for the prison system (July 17, 2008). The government of El Salvador has suggested that new centers be built to accommodate the growth of the prison population. Here again, however, some thought has been given to releasing the least dangerous prisoners, provided they have served two thirds of their original sentence. The government also reported that 6,700 prisoners are enrolled in the educational program in order to complete their studies, etc. (June 26, 2008). In Panama, the Ministry of Government and Justice has underscored that the prison system is in urgent need of improvements, as many prisoners are escaping and acts of violence are on the rise. The project offering parole and reduced sentences for good behavior is part of the solution (July 21, 2008). Nothing positive comes from prison overpopulation, which imperils the safety and security of inmates and staff alike. Overcrowded prisons lend themselves to abuse and mistreatment (because of the poor living conditions) and make it difficult to guard and protect the inmates. Two solutions are possible: building more prisons and/or reducing the number of prisoners.

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The first option does nothing to improve the situation, although in the short term it may seem so. Prisons fill up quickly. The second option is more effective but takes more time. However, it is the less costly alternative. For example, some inmates may be granted amnesty; the legality of detentions can be periodically checked and groups inappropriately held can be removed. The effects of overcrowding can also be eased by using space to better advantage (ICPS, Guidance Notes 4). The alternatives chosen will reflect the society’s values: opting to continue or even increase punishment, or taking steps to get offenders reintegrated into the community. Re-integration will require that the State and society take on the structural causes of crime, the need for offenders to be reintegrated into the job market, their need for education and the problem of the breakup of the family (Kliksberg, 2008).

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Is the Policy on Crime the Enemy of Prison Policy? By Alberto M. Binder* When writing about prison policy, one always runs the risk of settling into comfortable, hackneyed platitudes that gloss over a fact that is difficult to accept: in truth, we really aren’t very sure what to do about prisons. On the one hand, anyone who looks at the situation and is in the least bit sensitive cannot help but be shocked at the conditions in which hundreds of thousands of people incarcerated in our region are living. But on the other hand, any attempt to do away with prisons is scoffed at as illusory, outdated benevolent utopianism, out of touch with the inexorable fact of man’s evil. All the while, prisons remain: crumbling into disrepair and being destroyed from within; transforming inmate and guard alike into darker spirits; validating the insensitivity of our societies and their lack of imagination in tackling truly effective crime control that does not rely on gimmicky, archaic or populist solutions. We need a prison policy that gets beyond the abusive, unhealthy conditions and neglect to pursue more thoughtful solutions that make minimum and informed use of incarceration until we learn how to do away with it altogether, just as humanity learned to forsake beatings and dismemberment and is gradually learning how to do away with the death penalty. The humanization of the prison institution –which is much more akin to the charitable approach of a Howard, Montesinos or Arenal than it is to scientific or academic thought- managed to instill the idea that incarceration could serve positive ends; in other words, that deprivation of liberty could be used as an opportunity to improve the person incarcerated. The criticism leveled at this approach was of its obvious moralism. Still, the idea that prisons could be places for self-improvement served as a compass for prison administration, although it is utterly insufficient as the foundation of a prison policy. Faced with the undeniable fact that prisons fell far short of the re-socialization promised and society was in no way committed to the principle of reintegration, the human rights movement established the basic principle that inmates have fundamental human rights and thus helped to establish the parameters of what any prison administration could and could not do. This, too, is insufficient to establish a prison policy. Summarizing, both ideas are central to contemporary thinking about penal institutions, either for or against. But they do not provide everything we need to establish a clear-cut policy on prisons as elements in controlling crime in a democratic society. However, a distinction has to be made between policy design and the use of the prison in terms of its administration. Naturally, the distinctions are somewhat blurred. However, it is one thing to decide the cases in which a person would be deprived of his or her liberty, and another thing to determine what to do with that person once the decision to incarcerate has been made. This distinction ought not to be exaggerated, however, since the style of prison administration will always to some extent be driven by the decisions about whom to incarcerate and when incarceration should be used. But it is not a useful exercise for us to distinguish prison administration policy or penitentiary policy from the policy on how prisons will be used, which is undoubtedly one of the essentials of the policy on crime. There is a tendency to view all prison problems as a question of penitentiary policy. This tendency often prevents us from exploring and discovering real solutions. For example, in my opinion, prison overpopulation is the greatest problem in Latin America today. The heavy reliance on prisons is a problem having to do with the policy on crime and is lowering the caliber of prison administration to unimaginable levels. Any prison-policy program, whether based on the concept of social reintegration or on the idea of creating an environment of laws within the walls of the prison, is undermined by overpopulation. Prison overcrowding is an endemic problem, not simply a product of circumstance; it creates a climate of disrespect for rights, corruption in prison administration,

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mafias and gangs inside prison, all of which makes it impossible to practice routine prison policy. There are those who suggest that the way to solve the problem of prison overpopulation is to build more prisons. However, those who advocate this solution do not understand the true root of the problem. Furthermore the mere suggestion that new prisons should be added throws out states’ investment priorities into disarray. For this sector, the priority is to grow the prison complex rather than modernize prison infrastructure to replace old and no longer serviceable buildings. With the situation as it is in the region, if a prison policy is to succeed, then it must be instrumental in shaping the policy on crime. In other words, if a prison policy is to accomplish the main goals it promises (no matter the paradigm or combination of paradigms by which it operates) a limit must be placed on the prison population; that limit is determined by the policy on crime. In overpopulated prisons, prison administration is impossible, except the kind of administration that converts the prison into a training camp for violence, slavery or debasement of human dignity; everything prison policy in a democratic society should not be. Clearly, prison administration still has many problems to solve before prisons become the orderly, rational institutions that the principles of the rule of law demand. However, curbing the excessive use of prisons is a necessary first step. This first step has to be attempted by introducing legal provisions, even clauses in the constitution, or by increasing the number of sentence enforcement judges, as the criminal justice reform movement suggested, or through changes in prison administration. However, where no limit has been placed on who can be incarcerated and for what types of crime (in other words, no parameters have been placed on policy on crime) these measures have been unable to put a halt to the obvious decline in prison conditions in the last two decades. Summarizing, the fundamental quality of any prison policy in a democratic society is the existence of a strong mechanism to stem the flow of people into prisons that are already overflowing. In such circumstances, the only alternative is to substitute one inmate for another, through intelligent, planned use of the policy on crime that focuses on the most serious cases rather than allow incarceration to become the automatic solution for a lazy and insensitive judicial system. While there are real problems that prison policy must address (the system of rights, respect for personal autonomy, cooperating with the inmate in realizing his or her life plan, enabling the inmate to keep up his or her social life to the extent possible, and everything else that goes into a prison policy that is neither expansionist nor punitive and much less cruel and brutal), if the problem of prison overcrowding is not solved it is very likely that prison policy will continue down the road of empty rhetoric that denies the reality of a one-man cell that houses five. Perhaps the time has come to establish a national or international mechanism to certify each prison, indicating the maximum number of persons that it can house without brutalizing prisoners. The certified limit is a figure that everyone must observe, including judges, who in the vast majority of cases deliver their sentences without asking whether decent space or primary care will be available for the person he or she just sent to prison. * Director of the Centro de Políticas Públicas para el Socialismo [Center of Public Policies for Socialism] (CEPPAS) and the Executive Committee of the Instituto Latinoamericano de Seguridad y Democracia [Latin American Institute for Security and Democracy] (ILSED).

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One negative consequence of overcrowding, the lack of re-integration policies and proper segregation of inmates, is criminal contamination, which might be reflected in changes in the most common types of crime and inmate recidivism. However, because of differences in typologies and classification systems, it is virtually impossible to compare prison populations in the countries by type of crime. On the whole, it is safe to say that a very small percentage of the male and female inmates in Belize are in prison for misdemeanors and minor crimes (3% in the case of men, and only 1% in the case of women). 8% of the male inmate population and 2% of the female inmate population are repeat offenders. In those Central American countries for which data were obtained, the patterns are similar. Thus, in Panama the number incarcerated for misdemeanors is quite small: 378 men and 3 women. 9,866 male inmates and 731 female inmates are serving time for more serious crimes. Repeated offenders accounted for 17.6% of the male inmate population (1,808) and 5.7% of the female inmate population (42). In Costa Rica, 13% of male inmates (1,180) are repeat offenders, whereas 1% of female inmates (91). In South America, the recidivism figures are higher. In Brazil, 18% of the male inmate population are repeat offenders (72,129) and 9% of the female population (2,310); in Uruguay these figures are 58% of male inmates (4,086) and 24% of female inmates (119). In Paraguay, the percentage of female repeat offenders is higher than the percentage of male repeat offenders, at 15% (53) and 7% (432), respectively. In El Salvador, male inmates who have been prosecuted and sentenced were mainly convicted of crimes against life and property, crimes associated with the possession and sale of narcotic drugs, and crimes against sexual freedom. Most women in prison in El Salvador are there because of their involvement in crimes associated with the possession and sale of narcotic drugs. In Peru, crimes for which inmates were most frequently convicted are: drug trafficking (8,938 men and 2,022 women), aggravated robbery (12,659 men and 247 women) and terrorism (567 men and 93 women).44 In Chile, the crimes for which most inmates have been convicted are robbery, drug-related crimes, murder and theft. Table 12. Chile’s Inmate Population, by Type of Offense and Gender Type of Offense Economic Crimes Sex-related Crimes Drugs Homicides Theft Battery Other Robbbery Not Specified Total

Male inmate population 1,333 3,624 7,087 3,693 3,686 2,416 7,354 2,887 906 56,986

Female inmate population 129 25 1,858 156 462 61 247 1,000 92 4,030

Source: Chilean Gendarmerie, Studies Area, 2008.

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2.2 Use or abuse of preventive detention? In many places, the excessive use of preventive detention and the stiffening of penalties have exerted added pressure on prison systems, exacerbating overcrowding and overpopulation. The slow pace of judicial proceedings is also an important factor, since many inmates spend months and even years in prison without ever having received a definitive sentence; another factor is the delay in processing release papers. In Colombia, for example, the Conptroller General himself said that 2,500 prisoners who had completed their sentences were still behind bars because judges were slow to issue the release orders (June 16, 2008). Having a suspect or defendant behind bars might be useful for the investigating authorities, but under no circumstances should incarceration be a factor in the investigation. In other words, it is inadmissible to hold pre-trial prisoners in preventive custody, under harsh conditions, simply as a means of putting pressure on them to cooperate with investigating authorities or to confess their guilt (Coyle, 2004). Hence, the status of pre-trial prisoners being held in preventive custody and how the courts use preventive detention must also be reviewed. On this point, looking at Latin America as a whole, one finds that the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean, Honduras in Central America, Peru in the Andean countries,45 and Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay in the Southern Cone are the countries where the percentage of the inmate population never convicted is highest. Costa Rica and Chile have the lowest percentage of unconvicted inmates. While in some places inmates in preventive detention are the major reason why prisons are overpopulated and bring their own host of problems, this is not the case in every country. For example, in Belize, inmates standing trial but not yet convicted represent only a small portion of the total inmate population and the prison system is not operating at full capacity; Chile, on the other hand, is another country where the unconvicted inmate population is a small percentage of the total, but its prisons are severely overpopulated, which demonstrates how harsh its criminal justice system is. Paraguay and Peru are also at opposite ends of this spectrum. In both cases, the unconvicted inmate population is but a small percentage of the total. However, overpopulation in Paraguay’s prison system is only 9%, whereas Peru’s is 86%. Clearly these differences are also a function of the size of the prison population: Paraguay has only 7,000 inmates in its prison system, while Peru has over 40,000. El Salvador and Ecuador are extreme cases in which the number of unconvicted inmates is relatively low but the overpopulation is very high. One explanation for El Salvador’s figure might be the explosive increase in the size of its prison population, as noted earlier.

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Graph 21. Unconvicted inmate population in Latin America and the Caribbean

Source: prepared by author, 2008. Figures based on information supplied by the respective prison administrations (the year and month of the data are indicated in parentheses). The prison administrations were not the source of the data for Barbados (July 2007), Bolivia (November 2006), Jamaica (October 2007) and Nicaragua (2006); in these cases the data were taken from the World Prison Brief Belize: Belize Central Prison (June 2008). Dominican Republic: General Bureau of the Prison System (June 2008). Costa Rica: General Bureau of Social Adaptation (June 2008). El Salvador: General Bureau of Penal Institutions (December 2007). Honduras: General Bureau of Special Preventive Services (June 2008). Panama: General Bureau of the Prison System (June 2008). Mexico: Decentralized Administrative Organ for Prevention and Social Re-adaptation (June 2008). Argentina: National Statistical System on Execution of Sentence (December 2006). Brazil: National Prison Department (InfoPen, December 2007). Chile: Gendarmerie of Chile (July 2008). Colombia: National Penitentiary and Prison Institute (June 2008). Paraguay: General Bureau of Penal Institutions (June 2008). Peru: National Penitentiary Institute (May 2008). Uruguay: National Bureau of Prisons, Penitentiaries and Recovery Centers of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay (July 2008). Venezuela: Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons, Report for the ďŹ rst half of 2008 (July 2008).

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Graph 22. Unconvicted inmates and overpopulation in Latin American prisons

Source: prepared by author, 2008.

One of the surprising ďŹ ndings when the data are analyzed by gender is that in general the percentage of unconvicted women in preventive custody is greater than the percentage of men (ďŹ gured as a percentage of the total male inmate population and the total female inmate population separately). The exceptions are the Dominican Republic, which has 11,781 unconvicted men in preventive detention, but only 387 women; and Paraguay, with 3,978 men and 203 women. In both these countries the percentage of unconvicted male inmates in preventive detention is higher than the percentage of unconvicted female inmates. Graph 23. Unconvicted Inmate Population by Gender, Various Countries, 2008

Source: prepared by author, 2008. The only countries considered were those from which gender-discriminated data were obtained.

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Although some countries have undertaken reforms to their criminal procedure systems, preventive detention or detention on remand continues to account for a significant percentage of detainees. For example, while the situation of persons deprived of liberty while awaiting sentencing has improved markedly since 2002, the figures show that only 41% are convicted while the remaining 59% are standing trial. In Argentina’s Federal Prison System, those standing trial account for a larger percentage of the prison population that convicted inmates do. Compounding the problem is the fact that many prisons do not separate convicted from unconvicted inmates. This is no small matter, since many prisoners anticipating conviction have an impact on criminal contagion. While at the present time the SPF is not facing a generalized problem of overcrowding and overpopulation, some of its facilities and most provincial prisons are indeed overcrowded and overpopulated. One cause of the large inmate population is the judicial system’s excessive reliance on preventive detention. The Buenos Aires penitentiary system, for example, was placed under a state of emergency in 2001, which was extended until 2007 (Borda, Kletzel and Sapoznik, 2008: 150). Upon examination of Table 13, one finds that the vast majority of inmates have not been definitively sentenced. This was a factor in the fire in the men’s prison in Santiago del Estero on November 4, 2007, and the 2005 fire at Magdalena’s Unit No. 8, in the province of Buenos Aires. The two fires killed 35 and 33 inmates, respectively. Table 13. Inmate Population in Argentina’s Federal Penitentiary System, by Legal Status Inmate population by legal status

2006

2007

Total inmate population

9,380

9,024

Capacity

9,528

10,161

Availability

1.5%

11.2%

Convicted

4,156

3943

Awaiting/standing trial

5,174

5,038

Inmate Population

Legal status

Source: Performance Indicators 2006/2007, Ministry of Justice, Security and Human Rights, Federal Penitentiary Service.

In Brazil, the parliamentary report that appeared in June 2008 points out that 30% of inmates could be out of prison if they had the proper legal counsel that the State is required to provide. It noted that 40% have been languishing in prison for years, without ever having been convicted (June 24, 2008). The slow pace of the court cases and the lack of legal assistance for inmates have meant that the percentages of detainees being held in temporary detention in Brazil has not dropped significantly in the last 8 years, as graph 23 shows.

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Graph 24. Inmates in Preventive Detention, Brazil (2000-2007)

Source: prepared by author, 2008, using data from the National Penitentiary Department, InfoPen, published for the various years.

In Chile, the impact of the criminal procedural reform that began to be introduced gradually in 2004 is evident in the considerable drop in detainees (from 7% in 1998 to 0.6% in 2007) and inmates awaiting or standing trial but not yet convicted (from 44% in 1998 to 24% in 2007). At the same time, however, this drop of 20 percentage points in inmates standing trial is matched by an increase in the number of those convicted, which went up in percentage terms during that same period. In the end, the reform did not relieve the demographic pressure in the prisons, although it did solve the problem of the amount of time that detainees could spend awaiting trial.

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Graph 25. Inmate Population in Chile, by Legal Status (1998-2007)

Source: prepared by author, 2008, using data from the Anuario Estadístico of the Chilean Gendarmerie, 2007. See breakdown in annex.

Paraguay’s prison system underwent changes in the wake of the first report prepared by the Inter-Institutional Commission created in October 2004. The Commission is composed of representatives from the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Justice and Labor, the Ministry of Public Defense, the Ombudsman’s Office and NGOs. It put together a report that recounts its visits to penal institutions. Those visits served as the baseline for a subsequent series of evaluations of the prison system as a whole. Despite the institutional progress made to improve the treatment of inmates, the excessive use of preventive detention is creating enormous problems. Graph 26 shows that in 2006, no less than 70% of inmates were being held pending trial, and while this figure has dropped somewhat, it is still very high. The excessive use of preventive detention is very much a function of Law 2493/04, which amends Article 245 of the 1998 Code of Criminal Procedure. The amendment has resulted in higher incarceration rates because it makes alternative measures less accessible and thereby exerts greater pressure on already overcrowded prisons (CDH, 2007:22). Another important amendment to the law changed Article 136 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. This amendment lengthens the pre-trial period, thereby giving the State more time to mount its case. The beneficiaries of this amendment are people of means, since this gives them time to get the best attorney, mount their best case, and ultimately get their case thrown out on a technicality. Another major problem is that there are too few public defenders to represent the inmates being held in preventive detention. Then, too, public defenders are not always very diligent about their cases. The Commission received numerous complaints about public defenders who were not responding to inmates’ requests and claims. In fact, in 2006 the Chaplain at Tacumbú 72


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Penitentiary repeatedly complained that inmates were allowed to languish in prison, were never brought to trial and ended up serving more than the minimum penalty for the crime of which they stood accused but not convicted (Mendoza de Acha, 2006:11). Graph 26. Unconvicted Inmate Population in Paraguay (1991-2006)

Source: prepared by author, 2008, using data from the Human Rights Clinic, Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School. 2007. Security in Paraguay, p. 22. See itemization in annex.

Penalties in Mexico have become stiffer in recent years, in response to the security crisis the country is experiencing. Preventive detention is being ordered with increasing frequency. The number of offenses classified as serious crimes has increased, and the prison sentences for these crimes have been lengthened. On the other hand, alternative penalties are few or rarely used.46 When, eight years from now, the adversarial system of criminal proceedings is introduced, with oral argument and public proceedings, this trend will likely be reversed, although the existing data are not sufficient to conclude what impact the new system has had in those states where it has already been introduced. The first obvious classification of the inmate population in Mexico is directly related to the jurisdiction of the authority with regard to the crime committed and the inmate’s legal status. As of March 2008, of the total inmate population (217,457), 76% were there for having committed a crime that came under the jurisdiction of state courts, whereas 23% were there for having committed a federal offense. In both jurisdictions, 40% are standing trial, and 59% have already sentenced. In both jurisdictions the number of those already sentenced is greater than the number standing trial, but the difference is greater in the federal jurisdiction.

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Table 14. Inmates on Trial and Sentenced, by Jurisdiction, in Mexico (2004-2007) % of inmates on trial in federal court

% of inmates sentenced in federal court

% of inmates on trial in state courts

% of inmates sentenced in state courts

2004

31

69

45

55

2005

35

65

45

55

2006

37

63

44

56

2007

37

63

44

56

2008

39

61

42

58

Sources: Government Reports, Secretariat of Federal Public Security; 2008 data are for the month of March. See itemization in annex.

While most persons incarcerated have already been convicted –a pattern that has held steady for the last ďŹ ve years-, the great difference is that most of the inmates on trial, or unconvicted inmates, are in the jurisdiction of the state courts, i.e., for crimes not related to organized crime.47 Graph 27. Inmate Population in Mexico and Inmates Standing Trial, by Jurisdiction

Sources: Government Reports, Secretariat of Federal Public Security; 2008 data are for the month of March. See itemization in annex.

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Trends in the United States prison system By Felipe Salazar* In prison-related matters, the United States is a global barometer, both for its strengths and its weaknesses. It frequently triggers criticism from various quarters. The U.S. prison population is the largest in the world (World Prison Brief, International Centre for Prison Studies). Administrative issues aside, it might be helpful to briey review the situation of U.S. prisons, mainly with respect to the characteristics of its inmate population and its growth. The prison system features four ways to supervise offenders. The ďŹ rst are the alternatives to incarceration (probation), consisting of community-based supervision ordered by the court, and performed according to a set of rules of conduct. The incarceration measures are of two types: prison and jail. Prison means incarceration in a state or federal institution for serving sentences of more than one year. Jails, on the other hand, are local facilities used to hold persons accused of crimes, those awaiting sentence, or serving a sentence of less than one year. Lastly, parole is early release from incarceration based on a series of conditions dictated by the Parole Board of the respective state. If the parolee fails to comply with those conditions, he or she will be returned to prison. In 2006, 8 out of every 10 offenders were given alternative sentences. Graph 28. Trend of the prison population in the United States (1980-2006)

Source: U.S. Department of Justice (2007). Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin

In 2007, the United States prison system had over 7,200,000 people serving some form of sentence. Of these, 58.1% were on probation, and 10.9% were on parole. The population housed in the two types of penal institutions totals 31%; 10.5% are in local jails and prisons and 20.5% are in prisons for serious offenders. In 2006, the inmate population ratio was 501 for every 100,000 inhabitants, which includes both state and federal jurisdictions.

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Upon further examination, one finds that the number of offenders in the state and local prisons has been increasing steadily in recent years. The most significant increase was in 2006, at 2.8%, by comparison to the 1.9% increases in the period from 2000 to 2005. One possible explanation is the increase in the number of inmates in state-run institutions; a similar though smaller increase is evident in federal prisons. The number of female inmates increased steadily. Taken together, the various facilities house 112,498 women, who represent 7.2% of the total inmate population and 67 out of every 100,000 inhabitants. This is significantly less than the ratio for male inmates, which is 943 for every 100,000 inhabitants, which amounts to over 1,400,000 people. In terms of age bracket, the largest percentage of the female inmate population is between 35 and 39 years of age (19%). Graph 29. Number of inmates in federal and local prisons for every 100,000 inhabitants

Source: U.S. Department of Justice (2007). Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin

Another interesting question to explore is what percentage of the inmates in the United States are being housed in prisons or jails operated on a concession basis. Such facilities are operating in 24 states. The percentage of inmates in privately operated penal institutions was 6% in 2006; the absolute number was 86,065 inmates in state facilities. This far surpasses the number of inmates in the federal system (27,726). For example, more than one third of the inmate population in New Mexico, Wyoming and Alaska is in a privately operated facility. There is no question that the United States prison system has a large inmate population that has increased steadily over the last 10 years. It is also true that a significant number of people are serving some form of alternative sentence; indeed, a majority of offenders are serving some form of alternative sentence. * Assistant Researcher, Security and Citizenship Program, FLACSO-Chile. Sources: U.S. Department of Justice (2007). Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin: Prisoners in 2006, Office of Justice Programs, December, http://www.ojp.gov/bjs/abstract/p06.htm U.S. Department of Justice (2007). Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin: Probation and Parole in the United States, 2006, Office of Justice Programs, December, http://www.ojp.gov/bjs/abstract/ppus06.htm

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Managing prison overpopulation: a European perspective48 By Andrew Coyle49 The context The work of the International Centre for Prison Studies of the University of London is an opportunity to make a contribution to the prison systems around the world and observe the challenges they face and how they rise to them. In many respects, prisons are very culturally sensitive institutions that are directly responsive to the prevailing social norms. It is interesting to note, for example, that certain characteristics that may be entirely out of place in one country are regarded as the norm in another. A case in point is the attitude toward family and visits. In other respects, however, prisons are generally the same everywhere in the world. They consist of one group of human beings, prisoners, who are guarded by another group of human beings, the staff, within the walls of structures called prisons. Those who run prisons often face the same set of basic problems: terrible conditions, with overcrowding a common feature; a duty to care for persons who are on the fringes of society and who frequently suffer from personal or health problems; a lack of resources; and poorly trained, poorly paid staff whom the public does not always hold in the highest regard. European Prison Rules In 1973, the Council of Europe, which at the time was composed of 15 Western European member states, approved the European Prison Rules. The rules were a European slant on the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 1957. These rules were amended in 1987. The Council of Europe now has 47 member states, from the Atlantic to the PaciďŹ c and with a variety of incarceration traditions and differing notions of the basics of incarceration. There are enormous differences between the situations in many of the founding member states and those that have joined the Council of Europe since the late 1980s. Furthermore, since 1990, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has visited every member country multiple times and has published reports detailing prison conditions in the member states. It has also offered suggestions on a number of broader issues in its general reports. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has agreed to hear an increasing number of applications ďŹ led against a wide variety of member states, by or on behalf of individuals alleging violations of the European Convention on Human Rights with respect to their treatment in prisons. For all these reasons, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers decided that the time had come to once again amend the Rules. In 2004 and 2005, I had the privilege of being one of three experts whom the Council invited to help draft the amendment to the Rules.

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Our challenge in drafting the amendment to the European Prison Rules was to take account of the different traditions in the new member states and to be mindful of the new political attitude within a number of founding member states, which might be less amenable toward rules based on human rights standards. We took on these challenges by preparing a draft in which the first nine rules were set out as a set of basic principles with which any of the Council of Europe’s 47 member states could agree. They are as follows: 1. All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with respect for their human rights. 2. Persons deprived of their liberty retain all rights that are not lawfully taken away by the decision sentencing them or remanding them in custody. 3. Restrictions placed on persons deprived of their liberty shall be the minimum necessary and proportionate to the legitimate objective for which they are imposed. 4. Prison conditions that infringe prisoners’ human rights are not justified by lack of resources. 5. Life in prison shall approximate as closely as possible the positive aspects of life in the community. 6. All detention shall be managed so as to facilitate the reintegration into free society of persons who have been deprived of their liberty. 7. Co-operation with outside social services and as far as possible the involvement of civil society in prison life shall be encouraged. 8. Prison staff carry out an important public service and their recruitment, training and conditions of work shall enable them to maintain high standards in their care of prisoners. 9. All prisons shall be subject to regular government inspection and independent monitoring. The Committee of Ministers approved the amended Rules in January 2006.50 Ever since, anyone involved in prisons in any capacity and in any member state of the Council of Europe must bear in mind that their governments have subscribed to these principles. In drafting the Rules, we identified a number of key issues,51 the following among them: Increases in the prison population and the resulting overpopulation The number of persons in prisons has increased in some but not all European countries. In most of these countries, prison construction has not kept pace with the increasing numbers being imprisoned, with the result that overpopulation is also on the rise. Overpopulation is a function of the size of the living quarters, the capacity of the kitchens, the plumbing and sanitation facilities, provision made for visits, facilities for work, education, and open-air exercise. Prison administration and staff Prison staff play vital roles, including public security and safety, preserving order and providing prisoners with the assistance they need for a successful reintegration into society. The relationship between the prisoners and the first-line prison staff was singled out as one of the keys to good management of a prison. Recruitment, training and continual support from staff need to be top priorities.

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Prisonersʼ living conditions One of the difficulties when assessing the suitability of the living quarters was consideration of the amount of time that prisoners spend confined in their cells or other quarters. Activities and regimes for prisoners All prison administrations recognize the necessity of providing prisoners with a work program, education and other activities, as a useful means to pass their time in prison and as preparation for life after they are released. We found that many systems were having difficulty meeting their professed obligations in this regard. The family and other contacts For prisoners, contact with family and close friends is of the utmost importance and all member states recognize the need to maintain and cultivate those relationships. In some jurisdictions, the visits for detainees awaiting trial are controlled by a court authority or prosecutor. The physical infrastructure for visits varies greatly, as does the degree of privacy allowed. Medical care The health profile of inmates is very poor when compared to that of the general public, and medical care is a major concern. In the course of its regular visits, the CPT devoted particular attention to the medical services and evaluating them by international standards on human rights in medical services for inmates. The problems identified were infectious diseases, mental health problems, suicide and self-destructive behaviors on the part of inmates. Length of sentences and life-imprisonment For years, the growing number of prison sentences delivered and their increasing length have had the effect of increasing the overall inmate population in many European countries. Several possible explanations may account for this trend. The abolition of capital punishment in all the European countries has been one contributing factor. In the member states, the detention conditions for those serving a sentence of life imprisonment vary greatly and the European Ministers of Justice have underscored the need to provide decent detention conditions for those serving long-term and life sentences, without sacrificing security, order and discipline in penal institutions.52 Prison discipline In a number of its recent reports, the CPT has expressed concern over the conditions of solitary confinement in a number of countries and the growing use of this practice. The Committee of Ministers has made a specific recommendation on how to handle the so-called dangerous prisoners. It has urged that as a general rule, prisoners should only be incarcerated in lockdown if their behavior poses such a security threat that they cannot be otherwise contained.

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Other issues Other issues that need special attention include arrest awaiting trial; the situation of children, juveniles and women; treatment of prisoners suffering from mental disorders; the elder inmates, who require special care; and decent and humane treatment of prisoners accused or convicted of terrorism-related crimes. Organization of American States The purpose of this paper is to provide a European perspective on managing prison overpopulation. Extensive literature exists in many other regions of the world where the overpopulation problems are similar or even worse. These include many jurisdictions represented by the Organization of American States. The discussions within the Meeting of Authorities Responsible for Penitentiary and Prison Policies in OAS Member States (Valdivia, Chile, August 2008) are of international significance in this regard. They will doubtless add to the important discussions that took place at the seminar on Prison Best Practices, which the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights organized in Buenos Aires in November 2007. It is important to the rest of the world that the jurisdictions of this hemisphere are committed to these issues and determined to tackle them. Hence the enormous significance of the declaration of the Principles and Best Practices on the Protection of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas, which the Inter-American Commission approved in March 2008.53 These principles and best practices provide an important set of regional standards that, in combination with other regional instruments like the European Prison Rules, demonstrate that the way in which democratic countries treat men and women who have been deprived of their liberty, is a meaningful reflection of those societies’ values.

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Incarceration of female offenders: Complexities of a growing problem


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

3. Incarceration of female offenders: Complexities of a growing problem Women are the minority in all prison systems in the world, and Latin America is no exception. Some of the problems that women inmates face are not unlike those in men’s prisons, like overcrowding (although to a lesser extent), inadequate infrastructure, absence of preparation for re-entry into society, a lack of training workshops and a shortage of health care. Yet, women inmates have their own special needs and a unique criminal profile that is common to almost all the countries in the region. This is especially true in the case of pregnant female inmates or those who have their infants and toddlers with them. Yet, women’s prisons feature the same security measures. This may be because the facility for female offenders is a wing of the men’s prison or because the facility was planned similar to the way in which a men’s facility would be. However, prisons for female offenders should be different from those for men, because women inmates are less violent and for the most part are serving sentences for the commission of petty theft, for killing someone who was abusing them, or for possessing or transporting drugs in small amounts and as a favor for someone else. Rarely do women have an important role in drug trafficking networks. The few studies done on the status of women incarcerated in Latin America all agree that the profile of the female offender has changed; now, the use, transport and sale of drugs figure more prominently (Aponte, 2002; Azaola, 2003; Espinoza, 2003; Suxo, 2003; and Pontón, 2006). Men’s prisons outnumber women’s prisons and the numerical ratio varies greatly. For example, in South America, Brazil has one women’s prison for every 11 prisons for men; in Chile, there is one for every 18; in Peru, 1 for every 7; and in Paraguay, there are two women’s prisons and 11 men’s prisons. In Mexico, there is one women’s prison for every 7 men’s prisons; in Panama, 1 for every 5; Costa Rica has only one women’s prison, but 14 prisons for men, although 11 semi-institutional correctional facilities accommodate men and women offenders alike. In the Caribbean, the picture is somewhat different, given the size of the inmate population. For example, Belize has only one penitentiary, but it does have a section for women. The Dominican Republic has one women’s correctional facility for every 11 men’s facilities. Women’s correctional facilities account for a very small percentage of the total because the female inmate population is much smaller, averaging around 6.5% in South America (with Ecuador figuring prominently). In Central America, the average is 5.5%; the figure drops to only 3.5% in the four Caribbean countries studied. The situation is no different from the rest of the world, where women inmates account for an average of 6% of the total inmate population. What is striking is that the growth rate of the female inmate population has been greater than that of men. For example, in England and Wales, the male inmate population increased 50% between 1992 and 2002, whereas the female inmate population was up 173% (ICPS, 2004, Guidance Notes 13). Another example is the Women’s Prison of the Federal District of Brasilia. In 1979 there were only 12 female inmates; almost a decade later in 1988, that number was up to 32; in 1997, it had risen to 90, which necessitated construction of a special facility; by 2005 that facility was housing over 300 women inmates (Ordoñez, 2006).

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In Uruguay, the information on Montevideo’s inmate population shows that women represented 2% of the total inmate population in 1990, a ďŹ gure that rose to 5.5% by 2004, which virtually matches the nationwide percentage (5.48%).54 In Chile, the number of women in prison has risen dramatically from 1,901 in 1998 to 2,957 in 2007; the male inmate population went up by 10% between 2006 and 2007, while the female inmate population was almost double that, at 19%.55 The challenge for the criminological approach is to visualize the predicament of women in prisons as a function of both the increase in their numbers and the type of crimes in which they were involved, which frequently were committed in an effort to provide for their family (women frequently engage in trafďŹ cking with their husband or partner or on orders from their husband or partner in prison). Graph 30. Female inmate population in the Caribbean

Source: prepared by the author, 2008. Data supplied by the respective prison administrations. See itemization in annex.

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Graph 31. Female inmate population in Central America

Source: prepared by author, 2008. Data supplied by the respective prison administrations. See itemization in annex.

Graph 32. Female Inmate Population in South America

Source: prepared by author, using data supplied by the prison administrations. See itemization in annex.

The neglect of women inmates. Building prisons requires an enormous investment. So it is understandable why so few are built exclusively for women, since women represent such a small percentage of the inmate population. However, the negative side of this is that many female inmates end up being incarcerated far from their place of residence, a problem compounded by their families’ lack of means. The result is that women inmates are rarely visited by family. That separation from their families 85


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can take a serious toll on the women and their children. It exacerbates their depression and anxiety. Indeed, it is not uncommon for women inmates to attempt suicide. Antidepressants can be handed out indiscriminately, as happened at the Women’s Penitentiary in the Brasilia Federal District (Ordoñez, 2006).56 But it is more than just distance that separates women inmates from their families. A man reacts differently when his wife, sister or daughter is incarcerated; indeed his reaction is the reverse of her reaction. Various studies (Azaola, 2003; Pontón, 2006) have found that when women are sentenced to prison, men (husbands, parents or brothers) are not very supportive. Women’s prisons tend to offer far fewer visiting days then men’s prisons do. The way in which a prison is administered can drive an even bigger wedge between women inmates and their families. For example, in Brasilia the administration changed the visiting day from Sunday to Thursday, because fewer staff members were on hand on the weekend. The change made it easier for the prison staff, but more difficult for family members, for whom Thursday is a work day, or a school day in the case of the children (Ordoñez, 2006). Alienation, disadvantage and abuse inside the prison walls The sense of alienation, poverty and abuse that many women inmates have experienced before entering prison continues from the time they are convicted. Indeed, some women receive stiffer penalties than men for the same crime (Azaola, 2003; Castillo, 2003). The situation doesn’t change once inside prison. The job opportunities they have are basically limited to domestic chores like cleaning, or other jobs associated with women’s traditional role, like sewing or cooking. The jobs are always poorly paid. Another aspect of their prison life is the segregation of women inmates. In some cases, a lack of infrastructure, overcrowding or poor prison management means that women inmates are not properly classified. Azaola (2003) observes, for example, that in Mexico City, women were classified into the following categories: drug addicts, inmates with psychiatric disorders, lesbians and passive-aggressive inmates. These labels are offensive and do nothing to improve inmates’ self-esteem. Because the prison system is conceived mainly for men, the training of staff is not always tailored to prepare them to address women’s needs; furthermore, the guards are often men who may abuse their power.57 The two main problems in Paraguay’s prisons are as follows: first, most prisons house both male and female inmates, and it is not clear that inmates are in fact segregated (for example, the Encarnación Prison or the Prison in Ciudad del Este); and second, the guards in the women’s prisons are men. These two factors are at the root of many problems, such as complaints of abuse, rape, and so on.

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There are only two penitentiaries exclusively for women (Casa del Buen Pastor and the Juan María de Lara Correctional Institution), which together house some 330 women with 40 children (Mendoza de Acha, 2006: 41). The women’s penitentiaries are, in general terms and from the standpoint of infrastructure, in better condition than the men’s prisons. One of the major gender-related problems is the complaints of prostitution and abuse of women inmates. The most sensational complaint was one that the warden of the Buen Pastor penitentiary filed with the InterInstitutional Commission. The warden said that when women inmates are taken to the “private suites” in Tacumbú prison, they are plied with alcohol or drugs and then raped (Mendoza de Acha, 2006:11). At the Quito Women’s Penitentiary in Ecuador, the women inmates talk about the blatant discrimination they endure when classified. Although staff deny it, the women inmates claim that women of African descent, the less educated and the poor are assigned to the oldest corridors. The association with male staff is also harmful since many have sexual relations with inmates in exchange for certain favors (Pontón, 2006). The same relationship of power, submission, obedience and subservience with prison staff occurs in the Women’s Prison in the Federal District of Brasilia, where staff members dole out rewards in exchange for collaboration (Ordoñez, 2006). Another example of the greater discrimination that women endure has to do with conjugal visits, since the requirements that women must satisfy to gain this privilege are greater than those required of men. For example, in Colombia, and contrary to the 1991 constitutional amendment which requires prison administrations to allow women inmates to have conjugal visits, in practice the requirements they must meet to earn this privilege are more demanding than those required of men (Ramos, 2003): a woman inmate in Colombia must be married or provide a notarized paper certifying the relationship that she has with the person who will visit her or with whom she has children. Even when the conjugal ties are demonstrated, she may be denied the conjugal visit on the grounds that it would be improper for her to have relations with that person. The image of a submissive woman, devoted to family, is a carryover from the earliest women’s prisons, which in most Latin American countries were originally run by Catholic religious orders. For example, in Brazil, women’s prisons were run by nuns, and the justification for separate female correctional facilities was that the presence of women was a contaminating factor in men’s prisons and helped create a climate of sexual depravity. In Brazil, the standard that must be met to earn the conjugal visit is higher for women than it is for men. For example, women inmates must show that they have been with their husband or partner for three years or more, or have a child by that person; men, on the other hand, can have conjugal visits with any woman, even a prostitute (Espinosa, 2003). This is a violation of the rights of women inmates and completely at odds with the principle of fairness. The situation in the Guayaquil women’s prison is completely the opposite: women inmates can receive any visitor, an arrangement that they sometimes exploit to engage in prostitution and earn spending money for their time in prison (Pontón, 2006).

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In Venezuela, women inmates are incarcerated in separate wings of various penitentiaries or in the National Women’s Correctional Institute [Instituto Nacional de Orientación Femenina] (INOF). INOF is the only correctional facility built to house women exclusively. Control of conjugal visits in these places is very tight. Conjugal visits themselves are handled very differently than in men’s prisons. Many of the women inmates have and care for their children up to the age of 3. In general, even though conditions in the women’s correctional facilities are quite similar to conditions in men’s facilities, the rates of violence and aggression among women inmates tend to be much lower. Some women’s correctional institutions do not have the proper facilities to address the special health and hygiene needs that women have. The lack of sensitivity to gender differences was in evidence in Guatemala when judges and prosecutors violated the right to work outside the prison, for fear of escape or simply because the prisoner had committed crimes that took a heavy toll on society. In Guatemala, so many bureaucratic steps must be processed in order to receive health care that the needed care comes too late. Pregnant inmates run the risk of losing their babies because of the poor prison diet (Castillo, 2003). Children of inmates: are they convicted too? The female inmate population has some socio-demographic characteristics in common with their male counterparts. They tend to be young, of economically active age, from socioeconomically disadvantaged groups and have little or no schooling. But unlike men, women tend to have been the victims of violence and abuse in their life before prison (ICPS, 2004). If women were disadvantaged in pre-prison life, they are even more disadvantaged in prison. According to the traditional notion of women’s roles, female inmates have become bad women and mothers who have abandoned their families. For women inmates, the sense of abandonment is compounded by feelings of guilt. One problem for women inmates is the care of their children. When it is the father who goes to prison, the mother takes charge of the family. When the mother goes to prison, however, the children all too often end up abandoned and neglected, with their most immediate family ties no longer present. International instruments provide that special measures must be available for pregnant women inmates and their children. In practice, however, those measures tend to be either inadequate or nonexistent in many Latin American countries. Contact with the children varies in terms of access and proximity, depending on what each prison administration determines. For example, in some cases the visit is only through a window, and then only at certain times of the day; in other cases, the visit may be for more than a day, and the time is spent in a special apartment (ICPS, 2004, Guidance Notes 13). However, there is no single pattern in this regard. Another point on which there is disagreement is this: up to what age should children remain with their mothers in the prison. In some countries children are taken from their mothers once they stop nursing; in other countries they can remain until two years of age or even older. Whatever the time period, the prison infrastructure must be able accommodate and care for the children of female inmates. However, not all correctional facilities have infirmaries or daycare centers.

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For example, the prison system in Bolivia is, in general, inadequate. Many places do not even have cells; for security reasons, women are not allowed to work. The result is that children have to share the space assigned to their fathers or mothers. The figures are shocking: there is one child for every 10 inmates. The quality of the health care is poor; the few physicians there are only go to the correctional facility three times a week (in fact, people have died for lack of medical attention); the food is not nutritious and the woman receives the same portion irrespective of whether she has a child living with her in prison; more serious still is the fact that if a woman inmate is punished with solitary confinement, her child may be in solitary confinement as well (Suxo, 2003). The Law on Execution and Supervision of Sentence (Law 2298 of December 20, 2001) provides that children up to the age of 6 may remain with their parent in prison, provided that the parent in question is the custodial parent; if both parents have custody, the child may remain with the mother until he or she has finished nursing. Under this law, children who remain with a parent are to be in proper daycare centers; in practice, however, this provision is difficult to put into practice. In Brazil, women frequently lost parental rights because, being incarcerated, they were unable to appear in court. In 2001, however, a conference was held on the subject of women prisoners. There, some progress was made: conjugal visits were introduced in women’s correctional facilities and the judicial practice of the Public Prosecutor’s Office was changed so that notification in proceedings to decide parental authority was expanded to include state prisons (Espinosa, 2003). But the situation in other areas continued to be problematic; in June 2008 a legislative

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report recounted further inquiries into the poor conditions in the majority of Brazil’s prisons. The report stated that in many women’s prisons, the women inmates had their children at their side for lack of a daycare facility (Houston Chronicle, June 24, 2008). In Ecuador, the situation of women inmates varies from one correctional facility to another. For example, the Quito women’s correctional facility has a daycare center for children, but the Guayaquil prison does not. It is very common for children to sleep in the cells, sharing the bed with their mothers; even when the inmate’s other children are spending the night, they all sleep together, crammed into a single cell. Many mothers seek other job options within the prison in order to keep their children, since the system does not provide any additional benefit for children (not even an additional portion of food especially for the child). But these are very low-paying jobs. For example, the inmates working in the kitchen at the Quito women’s prison receive 30 dollars a month for a job that they perform seven days a week. Some inmates say that leftovers should be divided among the inmates with children, although they also admit that the food is not good and causes stomach ailments (Pontón, 2006). Chile has the Temporary Homes Program, which operates according to the technical criteria set forth in Law No. 20,032 (“System to Protect Children and Adolescents through the Network of Partners working with the National Children’s Service –SENAME- and its Subsidies System). The purpose of the program is to promote and protect the physical, mental, social and emotional development of children under the age of 2 who enter prison with the mothers and remain there. Such children are allowed to remain with their mothers in the correctional facility up to the age of 2. At that point, the mothers must hand over custody to a close relative or anyone else of their choice. If mothers are unable to do this, then the children are sent to a child protection center. This institutional coordination materializes in the money that SENAME transfers to the Chilean Gendarmerie for the care of children and pregnant women. In 2007, it provided approximately 276,000 dollars, which is almost 2,000 dollars per year per child, since in 2007 a total of 111 children and 31 pregnant women were cared for (Chilean Gendarmerie. Annual Report, 2007). The service is of good quality; daycare and permanent medical attention are provided. In Uruguay, no large-scale programs have been organized to address the particular needs of these groups. On the other hand, the recently enacted Prison System Humanization and Modernization Act does make provision for special treatment for elderly prisoners (house arrest). While attempts have been made to afford pregnant women the same kind of treatment, thus far there is nothing to suggest that the system will be implemented across the board. At the present time, only a few correctional facilities offer such programs. In Argentina no law has been enacted mandating special treatment for pregnant women and women with small children. While in November 2007 the Chamber of Deputies passed a bill amending law 24,669 and expanding the cases in which house arrest would be permitted, which would include this particular group of inmates, we still have no reports indicating that the bill passed the Senate (Borda, Kletzel and Sapoznik, 2008: 174). Even if the law is approved, the judge handling the case will make the final decision. The most recent figures available (June 2008) on the number of pregnant women and children in federal correctional institutions show the following:

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Table 15. Pregnant Inmates and Inmates with Children in Argentina’s Federal Penitentiary System Category

Number

Pregnant Women

19

Mothers

72

Children

58

81

Source: Federal Penitentiary Service, Office of the Judicial Director. Summary of the Female Inmate Population as of June 13, 2008.

Lastly, despite the abuses mentioned earlier, Paraguay does have a cellblock in the Casa del Buen Pastor Penitentiary that is exclusively for pregnant women. The cellblock, called “Amanecer,” represents a positive step forward in dealing with the difficulty that prison life poses for the inmate when she is pregnant or accompanied by her children. The female inmate population has physical and emotional vulnerabilities that are either unique to women or that they feel more acutely than their male counterparts do, especially separation from family. Even though women represent but a small portion of the total inmate population, their particular needs have to be taken into account when crafting suitable policies for women in prison. It is not just a matter of the necessary injection of capital that so many women’s prisons require; certain abusive and discriminatory practices by the judicial system and the prison system need to change. With more and better training for staff in charge of female inmates, to instruct them in the rights of the inmates and their children, the treatment and the prison environment might begin to improve.

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The forgotten women in Ecuador’s prisons By Jenny Pontón Cevallos* The singular experience that women in prison endure is a priority issue in the efforts to surmount the crisis in Ecuador’s prison system. Prison is difficult for both men and women alike, because they are living the consequences of their punishment and being uprooted and separated from everything familiar to them.59 But the reality of the prison experience for women has been ignored and neglected by the prison system, which is driven by a model that caters to men’s needs. This is mainly due to the fact that the various schools of criminology have paid little attention to women as criminals, not just because so few women commit crime, but also because the belief for many years has been that they only participate in the crimes that society stereotypes as being women’s crimes (abortion, parricide or infanticide). However, in Latin America in the 1980s more and more women began to engage in activities associated with the illegal drug business, which triggered an abrupt surge in the statistics on female crime in most countries of the region, as the anti-drug policy became more and more harsh and implacable. In Ecuador, for example, 18.5% of women in prison were there for crimes of this type in 1982; by 1994, that figure had climbed to 73.6%.60 Then by 2005 (the DNRS’ latest published data), that figure had reached 77%. In other words, out of a total of 1,394 inmates, 1,073 were in for drugrelated crimes. This was far more than the numbers incarcerated for other types of crimes (11% for property crimes and 6.4% for crimes against persons).61 Generally, the women who become involved in this type of activity are the last link in the drug trafficking chain; in others words, they act as small-scale traffickers or mules (carrying drugs across borders). This means that their chances of being caught are greater, because their job is to deliver the drug to the user and transport it from one country to another inside their bodies. Many women fall into this occupation because they are able to continue running their household, which is what society expects of them, and earn an income from home. Disadvantaged women, mothers and heads of household are the profile preferred by the drug-trafficking network to transport narcotic drugs, as in case of Cecilia, an inmate in the Guayaquil women’s prison: “I was forced to sell drugs, in part because I wanted to, but in part, too, because I have six children. The husband I have now is not the father of my first children; so, I was selling drugs for seven months, and now look where I am: I’m here, doing time, and my children are scattered here and there.”62 There are positive and negative sides to having children in women’s prisons: on the one hand, they make life easier for the mothers, who are able to spend time with their children; on the other hand, life in prison may have a negative impact on the children by trapping them in a violent and oppressive environment. Even though there are a number of projects and measures (both by the government and by civil society, especially at the Quito and Guayaquil women’s correctional facilities) to give children the opportunity to spend time outside the prison walls, the double-edged sword is a constant in women’s rehabilitation centers.

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

It is a serious problem, because the Ecuadoran prison system has neither the budget nor the space to maintain the children of its women inmates. As a result, those children are not receiving either food or services from the institution. Although work and training are critical to women inmates’ social reintegration and survival, the prison system offers few opportunities for either. The jobs that exist are too few to employ all the women inmates and are poorly paid. On the whole, they tend to involve domestic work and manual skills that belittle the talents of women in prison. All this is compounded by the fact that in Ecuador most of the people behind bars have never been convicted and sentenced. This, combined with the rapid increase in the prison population in recent years, has created unbearable overcrowding, especially in women’s prisons, which were not designed to handle the high demands now placed upon them. Overpopulation in women’s prisons has taken a toll on the way in which women inmates serve their sentence; the prison infrastructure makes no distinction for women’s specific needs. As a result, conditions in the women’s correctional facilities are wholly inadequate. This, combined with the tougher sentences for drug-related crimes –which range from eight to 16 years- has made the situation of women incarcerated in Ecuadoran correctional facilities a time bomb. Given this fact, the enormous problems that women incarcerated in Ecuador face demand the State’s urgent attention. In 2008 some measures have been taken to alleviate the situation. On the one hand, the government created the Temporary Unit for Early Management of Construction and Start-up of the Social Rehabilitation Centers, which is under the authority of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. Its main objective is to determine the technical and conceptual parameters for the architectural design of the country’s new social rehabilitation centers and their start-up. This is a ten-year plan. Another step to ease the situation is remodeling and repair of the infrastructure of facilities already in operation. This is a two-year plan. Another important measure in this regard was the resolution that the National Constituent Assembly passed granting a pardon to persons detained for transporting less than two kilos of narcotic drugs and who have served at least 10% of their sentence. This pardon will mean the release of 1200 people incarcerated for this crime. However, exactly how many of them are women is not known. Nevertheless, both the improved prison infrastructure and the pardon are palliatives that do nothing to significantly alter the real problem created by over-criminalizing drug-related crimes. Sooner or later, that policy will fill the country’s women’s prisons to overflowing unless gender-based changes in the legal system are instituted. * Associate Professor, City Studies Program, FLACSO-Ecuador.

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FLACSO - Chile

Foreigners and minors are two other groups that, like women, account for small percentages of the total inmate population. No real pattern emerges where foreigners are concerned. The foreign inmate population varies with events, which trigger increases in the number of foreign inmates of one nationality or another. The available data show that in some cases, foreigners account for less than 1% of the inmate population; in other cases, they are more numerous than women. Of the 3 examples for which information by nationality is available, it is apparent that nationals of border countries tend to account for a larger share of the foreign inmate population. In Ecuador, it would be the Colombians; in Brazil, it would be Paraguayans, Peruvians and Bolivians; while in Chile, it would be Peruvians and Bolivians. The foreign inmate population also requires special attention; care must be taken to separate them from any inmate population with which they might quarrel. They must be given translation services when required, and a means of communicating with family, since they will likely not be receiving visitors. Table 16. Foreign Inmates as a Percentage of the Total in Latin America and the Caribbean CARIBBEAN Belize

8.5% (June, 2008)

Barbados

14.3% (Nov. 2001)

Dominican Republic

5.7% (2008)

Jamaica

2.8 (Oct. 2007)

CENTRAL AMERICA Costa Rica

16.8% (2008)

El Salvador

0.2% (2002)

Guatemala

5.3% (2008)

Honduras

1.4% (Dec. 2005)

Mexico

0,9% (2008)

Nicaragua

2.9% (Nov.2006)

Panama

6.8% (2008)

SOUTH AMERICA Argentina

5.4% (2006)

Brazil

0.5% (2006)

Bolivia

3.3% (2005)

Chile

3.7% (2008)

Colombia

0.6% (2004)

Ecuador

12% (2007)

Paraguay

6.1 (2008)

Peru

2.5 (2008)

Uruguay

2.7% (March 2006)

Venezuela

6.1% (July 2008)

Source: 2008 data supplied by the respective prison administrations; data for previous years are taken from the World Prison Brief of the International Centre for Prison Studies.

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Graph 33. Foreign inmates in Ecuador, 2007

Source: prepared by author, 2008, using data from the National Bureau of Social Rehabilitation (DNRS), as of July 2007.

Graph 34. Foreign Inmates in Brazil

Source: prepared by author, 2008, using data from the National Prison Department as of December 2006.

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FLACSO - Chile

Graph 35. Foreign Inmates in Chile, 2007

Source: prepared by author, 2008, using data from the Anuario Estadístico of Chile’s Gendarmerie, 2007.

As for juveniles, the age of criminal responsibility varies significantly and while most countries have lowered the age, juveniles who are subjected to some type of judicial proceeding do not become part of the prison population. The treatment they receive is different. Where there are juveniles among the prison population, their numbers are small. For example, in June 2007, the Office of the Director General of Penal Institutions of El Salvador reported a total of 485 incarcerated juveniles out of a total of over 18,000 inmates. However, many of the facilities for juvenile offenders are very similar to a prison in the way they operate. For example, in Chile there are 7 Behavioral Rehabilitation Centers [Centros de Rehabilitación Conductual] (CERECO) for juvenile offenders. The police force is charge of security at these facilities, which in practice means that security measures are as rigorous as they are in adult penal institutions. In fact, there have been a number of episodes in which juveniles have been wounded while attempting to escape and juveniles who have died in fires; in one case a young girl became pregnant. Staff of the National Children’s Service have complained of a lack of personnel, of resources, poor administration and overpopulation in these facilities, which mirror conditions in adult penal institutions (June 23 and July 2, 2008).

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Table 17. Age of Juvenile Criminal Responsibility Country

Laws

Age of Criminal Responsibility

Argentina

Law 22,278 (1980) Law 26,051 (2005)

16

Responsible agency

Brazil

Law 8,069 (1990)

18

Program for the Social Reinsertion of Juvenile Offenders (Ministry of Justice) National System for Socio-educational Treatment (SINASE) (National Child and Adolescent Rights Council)

Bolivia

Law on the Child and Juvenile Code 2,026 (1999)

16

Centers whose purpose is to ensure regime compliance

Chile

Law 20,084, which sets up a system of responsibility for juvenile offenders (2005)

14

National Children’s Service [Servicio Nacional de Menores] (SENAME)

Colombia

Law 1,098 (2006)

14

Colombian Family Welfare Institute [Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar]

Costa Rica

Juvenile Criminal Justice Law 7,576 (1996)

12

General Bureau of Social Adaptation [Dirección General de Adaptación Social]

Dominican Republic

Law 136 (2003)

13

National Bureau for the Treatment of Juvenile Offenders [Dirección Nacional de Atención Integral a la Persona Adolescente en Conflicto con la ley penal].

Ecuador

Law 100 (2002)

12

National Council for Children and Adolescents [Consejo Nacional de la Niñez y Adolescencia]

El Salvador

Law 863 (1994)

12

Office of the Director of Halfway Houses (Ministry of Government)

Guatemala

Decree 23/03

13

Office of the Deputy Secretary for Reinserting Juvenile Offenders (Secretariat of Social Welfare)

Honduras

Decree 76/96 Childhood and Adolescence Code

12

Honduran Institute of the Child and the Family [Instituto Hondureño de la Niñez y la Familia] (IHNFA)

Mexico

Law for the Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents(2000)

12

Diagnostic and treatment centers (by state)

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FLACSO - Chile

Country

Laws

Nicaragua

Law 287 (1998)

Panama

Law 40 on the Special Regime of Juvenile Criminal Responsibility (1999) Law No. 46 which amends articles in Law 40 (1999)

Age of Criminal Responsibility

Responsible agency

13

National Council for the Care and Protection of Children and Adolescents [Consejo Nacional de Atención y Protección Integral a la Niñez y la Adolescencia] (CONAPINA)

14

Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies [Instituto de Estudios Interdisciplinarios] (Ministry of Social Development)

14

National Service for the Care of Juvenile Offenders [Servicio Nacional de Atención al Adolescente Infractor] (SENAAI) (Ministry of Justice and Labor)

Paraguay

Law 1,680 (2001)

Peru

Law 27,337, Child and Adolescent Code [Código de niños y adolescents]. Decree 990

Uruguay

Law 17,823 Child and Adolescent Code (2004)

18

Uruguayan Institute of Children and Adolescents [Instituto del Niño y Adolescente del Uruguay] (INAU)

Venezuela

Law 5,266 (2000)

12

National Institute of Minors [Instituto Nacional del Menor] (INAM)

The Judicial Branch’s Management of Juvenile Centers [Gerencia de Centros Juveniles del Poder Judicial]

Prepared by FLACSO-Chile. Security and Citizenship Program. Source: ILSED (2007), Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN), and official data from each country.

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RSS

Violence inside the prison walls


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

4. Violence inside the prison walls The main problem in the general treatment of inmates is the failure to separate those awaiting or standing trial from those already convicted, repeat offenders from first-time offenders, and juveniles from adults. This lack of segregation generates “criminal contamination” where firsttime offenders or the less chronic offenders learn from the more serious others. Furthermore, the internal tensions among or between inmates can build up for any reason; almost anything can trigger fighting. Every situation is compounded inside prison and reactions can become extreme in an overcrowded, closed environment in which everyone is idle. Conflicts between gangs are common. Take the situation in Argentina’s Santa Fe province in 2005, when 14 inmates in Coronda prison were killed in fighting between inmates from different neighborhoods. In 2008, prison authorities were prosecuted for manslaughter in the death of the 14 inmates (July 5 and July 6, 2008). According to the judge, these were revenge killings, to retaliate for attacks on visitors, a violation of prison code. It was also said that prison personnel facilitated the attack (July 3, 2008). The ripple-effect of this event is ongoing, as the inmates reported that one guard gave them the key to open the prison gates and to take their revenge for the killing. At first they denied that the key existed. Later, however, the key was found. This episode also revealed the infighting among prison personnel: the work coordinator at the prison reported what the inmates had said? about what happed; however the secretary of prison affairs said that the incident was a result of the pressures that transfers were causing, and had nothing to do with the events in 2005. Lynching is a common occurrence in prison. Inmates in prison for rape and other sex-related offences are often the target. These attacks can even end in death, as happened in a Uruguayan prison, where a man standing trial for subjecting his daughter to sexual abuse in exchange for money, the mother of the girl and the rapist were lynched in the respective prisons where each was being held. The prison staff often have a hand in this vigilante justice. A parliamentary official came out in favor of not providing any information on the case unless the accused himself did so (May 20, 2008). Here, the lack of information is obvious, either because it has not been entered into the system or because it is being withheld, for whatever reason. Such conduct detracts from the transparency that must be characteristic of institutions in a democratic system. Next of kin also need detailed information about the circumstances surrounding the injury or death of an inmate. The data obtained are from a variety of sources and are not necessarily indicative of the trend or level of violence. The data are, however, suggestive. In the Caribbean, for example, three inmate deaths in Belize are on record; in the Dominican Republic, the records show 425 male inmates and 12 female inmates injured as of June 2008. In Central America, Panama has 16 deaths on record, attributed to non-inmate aggression; Costa Rica, on the other hand, has no deaths at all on record, although it does have injuries: 66 men and 1 woman. In El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the evidence of prison violence is much more striking. The number of deaths in El Salvador’s correctional facilities has increased in recent years. The trend is not attributable to prison riots, because these have been on the decline, as have hunger strikes. So, one has to look for an explanation in the relationships between and among inmates, and the inmates’ relationship to the staff.

101


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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Table 19. Deaths inside Guatemalan Prisons (2007) Classifications

2007

TOTAL

January

February

March

September

Fatalities in rioting

1

0

3

0

4

Non-riot related fatalities

0

4

0

1

5

Total deaths per month

1

4

3

1

9

Number of riots

1

0

1

2

Source: Database of Guatemala’s Institute of Comparative Studies in Penal Sciences [Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales de Guatemala]

The decline in the number of riot-related fatalities in 2007 cannot be attributed to the policies introduced by State officials responsible for the country’s prison policy. So long as the prison system is not changed to conform to the standards set in the Constitution and the Prison Regime Law, the increases and decreases in these fatalities will be driven not by policy, but by the daily dynamics at each institution. At the present time, there are no precise protocols on reasonable use of force and the proper reaction when riots break out in correctional facilities. In Argentina, there are repeated complaints that prison staff use violence against inmates (there are complaints of torture, abuse and other forms of violence). The problem is not confined to federal prisons; indeed, it appears to be a much more common problem in provincial prisons and police lockups. As there is no record documenting the torture and degrading treatment nationwide, the quantitative dimension of the problem is difficult to establish (Borda, Kletzel and Sapoznik, 2008). In 2007, the Office of the Federal Prison Ombudsman conducted research to determine the magnitude of this problem in federal prisons. The survey was conducted among the inmate population and found that 64.3% of the inmates claimed to have been physically mistreated by SPF personnel while incarcerated; in 53% of these cases, physical injury was inflicted. Male inmates are subject to more physical abuse than women inmates. The figures are 65% for men and 5.7% for women (Borda, Kletzel and Sapoznik, 2008: 180-181). Abusive pat-down searches, however, are much more common among women inmates than among their male counterparts, at 70% for women and 17.8% for men. The veracity of these figures has been challenged by the Director of the SPF and by the Prison Commission of the Public Defense Office. The Report of Brazil’s Parliamentary Commission observes that 70,000 inmates escape each year and 1,000 die from inmate violence or as a result of physical force by guards (June 24, 2008). Chile, for its part, had 24 deaths in 2007 and 144 injuries as of July 2008. In Uruguay, 14 deaths attributed to non-inmate aggression and 18 injuries were reported in 2007; most of the deaths caused by non-inmate aggression were at Libertad Prison, followed by COMCAR and the Canelones Departmental Jail, which are also the most overcrowded facilities in Uruguay. In the case of Uruguay, the deaths inside prisons were inflicted by bladed instruments (a common weapon among inmates); but in 2007 inmates were found to be in possession of firearms as

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FLACSO - Chile

well, which have been used in fights between and among inmates (Parliamentary Commission, 2007:24). This is another serious problem that compounds the overcrowding. The optimum segregation of inmates is precluded by budgetary and infrastructural factors. However, as the National Director of the DNCyCR observed, limitations notwithstanding, an effort is being made to separate inmates by such criteria as “the ability to co-exist and danger” and applying the principles of “dynamic security”63 in order to avoid the types of problems described earlier and criminal contagion. The officials are fully aware of the situation and believe that proper classification of inmates is the key to “success” in the incarceration process. However they explicitly noted that the “optimum” classification of inmates is impossible given the restrictions that infrastructure and budget impose. Paraguay, too, is plagued by serious problems in segregating the convicted from those awaiting or standing trial. The inability to separate first-time offenders from repeat offenders is a factor that contributes to the criminal contagion. If this factor could be measured, it would likely be one of most important. Paraguay reports that 13 men and 4 women sustained injuries in the first half of 2008. However, the lack of data on suicides and deaths as a result of non-inmate aggression is very serious, precisely because there are strong indications that both figures are high. The norm in almost all Paraguayan correctional facilities is that inmates refuse to leave their cells for fear of being killed by other inmates (Mendoza de Acha, 2007). This is not just a problem of overcrowding; it is also the result of the failure to separate the convicted from those awaiting or standing trial. In many cases, first time offenders are not even separated from repeat offenders, with the result that criminal contagion is very high. Some wardens say that this factor, combined with understaffing, could lead to large-scale escapes (Mendoza de Acha, 2006). One of the most striking examples is Venezuela, where the violence inside prisons is alarming. The number of those killed or injured each year is very high by comparison to other countries of the region and the world, and is still climbing. Venezuela can plot, on an upward curve, more than one death a day caused by entirely preventable violence among its inmate population. The State, therefore, has an immediate obligation to fulfill its role as guarantor of the individual’s basic rights, especially since it was the State itself that decided to deprive these individuals of their liberty. The prisons and other venues where justice is administered cannot become places where the death penalty is administered by proxy.

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

Table 20. Deaths and Injuries in Venezuelan Correctional Facilities (2006-2007-2008) 1st semester 2006

1st semester 2007

1st semester 2008

Injuries

407

541

381

Deaths

194

249

249

Source: Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons [Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones], 2008.

Graph 37. Number of deaths and injuries in Venezuelan correctional facilities 19992007

Source: Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons [Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones], 2008.

Another factor contributing to the increase in violence is the general physical condition of the facilities. The public has become immune to news reports of terrible and utterly unacceptable situations, such as inmates sewing their mouths together, going on hunger strikes or blood strikes, all in a desperate attempt to get the public’s attention to the deplorable conditions inside prison in the hope that those conditions will improve. Prisoners also resort to extremes like selfkidnappings, where visiting relatives are taken hostage and held inside the prison, in an effort to exert pressure on the judicial authorities to expedite the sentencing of the many inmates who have been prosecuted but never sentenced.

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Table 21. Acts of Violence inside Venezuelan Correctional Facilities (2006-2008) 1st semester 2006

1st semester 2007

1st semester 2008

Self kidnapping

3

3

8

Hunger strike

18

33

44

Blood strike

0

0

1

Sewn mouths

10

160

29

Source: Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons [Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones], 2008.

Table 22. Escapes from Venezuelan Prisons Escapes from:

1st half 2006

1st half 2007

1st half 2008

Workplace

58

74

86

Open regime

2

0

0

Prisons

8

27

42

Hospitals

6

14

7

Courts

1

3

0

Total

75

118

135

Source: Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons [Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones], 2008.

The Venezuelan Prison System: Violence, Idleness and Inequality Dr. Ivo Hernández While the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ensures decent conditions, professional staffing and an emphasis on reinsertion, nothing is safe in Venezuela’s prisons, not even the right to life, much less other essential human rights that are implicit in the most basic concept of citizenship –the right to be safe in places where the State’s presence is limited and its arm has little reach. At the present time, Venezuela has one of the highest rates of prison violence in the world,64 and is a systematic and repeat offender in violating the principle of equal conditions for men and women behind bars, and the rights of the families of those serving sentences. The general situation of the Venezuelan prison system Although overcrowding is still a serious problem, it has gradually declined since 1999 when the new Organic Code of Criminal Procedure (COPP) was introduced. The Code provides that an individual who has not been sentenced cannot be incarcerated for more than two years.

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A retrospective on the situation in Venezuelan prisons can be found in a 1998 report by Human Rights Watch, which points out that the Venezuelan prison system “is now at more than 160 percent of capacity.” It observes that “eleven of the country’s prisons were up to 200 percent of capacity in March 1996, with the most overcrowded of these prisons holding between three and five times the number of inmates they were designed to house.” Once the new COPP was implemented, the inmate population dropped by 38%, which meant that for the first time in many years the inmate population convicted and serving sentences outnumbered those awaiting or standing trial.65 (Morillo, 2001) Much of the overcrowding in Venezuelan prisons –even after the numbers decreased- is due to the fact that the facilities are not properly maintained. This is because of a number of factors. On the one hand, the structural condition of the prisons has drastically deteriorated because the institutionalized policies to ensure that they are physically maintained are lacking. Another factor is that inmates are not instructed in the care and upkeep of their surroundings and the staff working in the prisons are not receiving the proper training. All this makes the correctional facilities less functional and their actual capacity ends up being far less than what was originally planned. Violence and militarization in correctional facilities The relatively low rate of overcrowding and the decline in the inmate population have not had the effect of improving living conditions or the health of inmates inside prisons. The figures show that in all Latin America and, indeed, the world, Venezuela has one of the highest rates of violent death in prison.66 This is largely due to the fact that “inmates are routinely found to be in possession of knives and firearms, which suggests complicity on the part of prison guards.”67 The traffic in arms and drugs, combined with the idleness caused by a lack of activities programs or intramural rehabilitation programs, are perhaps the chief causes of the alarming levels of violence. In recent years, the number of firearms, weapons of war, and knives entering prisons has been on the rise, as is the number of weapons fashioned by the inmates themselves using materials that they find in prison. In 2007, 3,825 arms of various types were confiscated and including bladed weapons, pistols, grenades, submachine guns, revolvers, and teargas bombs.68 Many of the weapons are used exclusively by Venezuela’s military. The high rates of violence and the ability of inmates to arm themselves means that many of the staff working in prisons do everything possible to avoid going inside and only do so when accompanied by National Guard troops,69 to take a headcount or search the inmates.

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The guards are so poorly paid70 that many of them get involved in illicit activities. This, coupled with the dangerous working conditions and the steep levels of administrative corruption, means that even though Venezuela has a University Institute of Penitentiary Sciences (Instituto Universitario de Ciencias Penitenciarias – IUCP), most of the personnel working in the prisons are military and those who are not have at most a secondary education. Very few are really trained for the job. Thus far, the IUCP has produced 700 graduates, yet only twelve (12) are working in the Venezuelan prison system.71 The fact that the majority of the prison personnel that have contact with the inmate population are military, mainly members of the National Guard, may explain why so many weapons that are for the exclusive use of the military in Venezuela have been found inside its prisons.72 Because of the precarious working conditions in the prison system and the serious corruption in some instances, the system is transforming the inmate into victim. Almost all the practices, even those most basic to their needs and rights, may carry a fee. Transfers to cellblocks where security is tighter and inmates are not segregated, conjugal visits, transfers to courts: these are all moments of anxiety and humiliation for the inmate. The prison personnel in charge of the inmate’s custody may charge the inmate a fee for services and protection that are essential. In 2004, the charge to be transferred for an appearance in court was around Bs. 30,000 (approximately US$15).73 Estimates are that most of the arms and drugs inside prisons get there by way of the very prison staff guarding the inmates, whether they are military or civilians. Even so, relatives and friends who visit their loved ones in prison are regularly subjected to degrading searches. This endows the system with an enormous amount of discretionary authority, since the prison official present at the time decides whether the search is in order, and need not follow any standardized, regular rules. Women are forced to submit to very degrading and intrusive strip searches without regard for age or any other consideration. The medical service and reinsertion plans jeopardize the inmates’ lives Another consequence of the high incidence of violence and the lack of staff trained to perform prison-related functions is that the inmates resist moving around within the correctional facility, even to use the most basic services like medical care. This is despite the fact that the health conditions inside prisons are terrible. Because of the overcrowding, the precarious living conditions and the inmates’ fear of moving about freely to access any facilities within the prison, many of them suffer from health problems, including respiratory infections, sexually-transmitted diseases, and digestive disorders. However, because reporters and researchers have difficulty getting inside prisons and the government appears to have little interest in improving the conditions there, there are no current figures or recent studies on the health of inmates.

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In 2002, it was reported that over 25% of the inmate population had subcutaneous diseases, in all likelihood as a result of the overcrowded conditions; another 25% suffered from infectious diseases and parasitic disorders caused by a lack of sewer systems and waste water treatment in many places and a poor diet; another 10% had sexually transmitted diseases, anemia, poisoning, traumatism, mental disorders, affective disorders or personality disorders.74 In all likelihood, conditions now are the same or worse, since the government has paid virtually no attention to the prisons in recent years. The constant fights and rivalries between and among inmates and especially between cellblocks, not only cuts off access to medical care but also significantly reduces the inmates’ participation in reinsertion programs and other activities that require them to travel to other areas of the prison. In fact, although various educational and reinsertion plans are currently underway, at differing stages of implementation, there is no proper oversight and their execution is made all the more difficult by the fact that the inmates are not segregated by any classification standard: there is no segregation by type of crime, nor are the inmates participating in the programs segregated by level of education. The result is that most of the inmate population spends its time idle, causing a kind of mental atrophy. Since the guards are often unable to move about in some areas of the prison, inmates identified with a religious group volunteer to accompany their fellow inmates, whether they need to get from one cellblock to another or to leave the cellblock to meet with their defense counsel or attorney. Oddly, these inmates are some of the few respected authorities within the prisons, and normally are able to move from one cellblock to another without being attacked. It has happened that in the wake of violent clashes, the religious ministers who are inmates have stepped in to remove the bodies of the deceased and carry off the wounded.75

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Conjugal visits and gender inequality in Venezuelan prisons Venezuela’s prison system does not ensure equal treatment for both sexes. While in 1993 women inmates were given the right to conjugal visits, by 2001 –eight years later- women inmates had access to conjugal visits in only four of the country’s 16 women’s correctional facilities76 (Provea, 2002). Although by now conjugal visits are permitted in all women’s correctional facilities, such visits do not happen in practice for a variety of reasons, one of which is the lack of proper infrastructure. Further, in order to qualify for this right, women inmates must satisfy a complicated series of requirements, including the following: “The visitor must be the woman’s spouse or legally registered common-law husband; the woman must have an excellent conduct record while incarcerated; both partners must undergo an initial battery of tests, including HIV tests and psychiatric evaluations, as well as periodic testing for venereal disease; and the woman must agree to use birth control.”77 All this is in sharp contrast to the visiting regime in men’s prisons. No proof of the partner’s legal relationship to the inmate need be shown; tests for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are not required and inmates are not obliged to use contraceptive methods. Indeed, male inmates “are able to enjoy completely unsupervised sexual freedom, which includes a number practices amounting to prostitution and/or sexual favors between inmates and female visitors.”78 In yet another display of lack of initiative in responding to the complexities of the problem, the current administration has tried to put a political face on it, by announcing that in order to correct the problem, “real socialist prisons” will have to be built, “where inmates will be rehabilitated and reinserted. Family members will become one of the main pillars of this process. The plan is to open by year’s end four penal institutions that went under construction in 2004.”79 Although falling well short of the goals promised in the speech, last April (2008) the Coro prison was opened in the state of Falcón. However, the serious problems within the Venezuelan prison system will not be solved by simply building new infrastructure. Substantive measures are needed that will substantially improve the precarious state in which prisoners in Venezuela spend their days. Immediate measures are needed to reduce the levels of violence; put an end to the militarization of the prisons by hiring specialized, trained personnel; improve the civilian staff’s working conditions; combat idleness among the inmate population; improve medical services and access to them, and many other measures. Only then will the dignity and integrity of the inmates in Venezuelan prisons be assured, now and in the future. If these improvements are not made, the new facilities will not remain functional for very long; the same operational and structural pathologies found in other incarceration facilities will make their way into the new facilities. The justice system is also in need of major improvements, as are the post-release assistance plans that help former inmates reintegrate into society once they have served their sentence. All this is so that the justice system as a whole works to guarantee the human rights of every Venezuelan.

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The health of the inmates


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5. The health of the inmates In any correctional facility, one of the top priorities must be maintaining proper sanitation, as this will prevent the outbreak of disease or prevent such an outbreak from becoming an epidemic. Incarceration itself can have effects prejudicial to physical and mental health, mainly though not confined to inmates and staff. Lack of ventilation, the absence of sanitary facilities in cells, temperatures that are either too hot or too cold, the lack of medical personnel and overcrowding can all cause illnesses and breed infections. The environment within the correctional facility is a decisive factor here: in many prisons, damp, overcrowded conditions, poor food and poor hygiene are the underlying reasons why tuberculosis and hepatitis are so common, and much more prevalent than in the rest of society. A case in point is Guatemala, where on average there is one latrine for every 33 people; compounding the problem is the fact that they are made of cement and the system does not provide the essentials to keep them clean and disinfected. As for sunlight and ventilation, the facilities run by the National Police are the worst; they do not have open areas for the inmates, so that persons deprived of their liberty spend the entire day in their cells. In these facilities, the inmates are unable to spend time in the sunlight and cannot engage in recreational activities or sports, etc. This has a direct effect on inmates’ physical and mental health. There are no special medical and dietary treatment programs for inmates over age 60 (who represent 3.7% of the inmate population) and the women’s correctional institutions do not have proper facilities for gynecological, obstetrical and pediatric care. No provision is made for each person’s religious and cultural practices, even though the CPR and the Prison System Law provide that indigenous peoples’ ways of life, religion, culture and traditions are to be recognized, respected and cultivated. In Honduras, the negative consequences of an excessive reliance on preventive detention are reflected in the overcrowded cells in some of Honduran correctional facilities. Some cells, especially those in the main prisons, are housing between 60 and 120 inmates, when they were designed for a capacity of 15 to 20. Many of these cells have only one bathtub and one latrine and do not have proper ventilation and lighting. The prison system’s overpopulation has been exacerbated by the serious weaknesses and disrepair of many facilities that have been operating for several decades but have never been properly repaired. According to a report of the InterInstitutional Commission on Prison Reform, most correctional facilities are “contaminated and unhealthy” places.80 Many Latin American countries have not yet managed to provide complete, quality health care coverage for their people, so that the problem of poor or nonexistent health care for their prison population does not figure high on the agenda. However, if the State decides to incarcerate an individual, it must take responsibility for his or her health; inmates lose their liberty but not their basic rights, which are the same for every human being, regardless of their station in life. “Governments have a duty of care to prisoners and must provide adequate health care in prisons equivalent to the standard provided in society generally” (Coyle, 2002; ICPS, 2004, Guidance Notes 10).

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The neglect and failings of health care in prisons and their unhygienic conditions are such that they pose a threat to the broader community, which is that the disease bred in prison will spread beyond its walls, either through the prison’s contact with the outside world in the person of its staff and visitors, or the inmates’ eventual release. This is what happened in Chile, when an outbreak of tuberculosis in the Santiago Penitentiary in 2005 –one of the country’s oldest prisons- affected various staff members and caused some alarm within the public. Yet the problem has still not been corrected. During a recent strike by enlisted officers in Chile’s Gendarmerie, they reported that at least 100 inmates in the prison were suffering from tuberculosis and they feared that the epidemic would spread (Salazar, P., La Tercera, July 5, 2008). Given the overcrowding, it is the right and duty of staff and inmates alike to demand suitable conditions in the correctional facilities. There have been numerous demonstrations by inmates in Latin American prisons, demanding, inter alia, improvements in health service: • This is what happened in the strike by inmates at the Yare 1 and Yare 2 metropolitan prisons in Venezuela, who wanted the authorities replaced because of their poor record, and protested the lack of medical care for inmates (Unión Radio, June 11, 2008). • A similar situation occurred when inmates at the San Bernardo de Armenia prison in Colombia threatened to go on a hunger strike and asked that the Ombudsman’s Office help broker a solution to their demands regarding overcrowding, the lack of medications, the poor quality health and infirmary care, and the lack of toilets in cells (La Crónica del Quindío, July 7, 2008). • More than one correctional facility in Bolivia was involved when 200 inmates began a fast, while another 12 crucified themselves in the El Abra prison; and 153 women were on a hunger strike in the San Sebastián women’s correctional facility. The following are some of the specific demands that this strike was about: the male inmates were asking for a proper water supply system, specialized health care for epileptic patients and an occupational therapy program; the women inmates wanted medications, an outpatient clinic and dental services, and other issues related to transportation to hearings (Los Tiempos, June 19, 2008). • At Paraguay’s Centro Esperanza, the inmates took a number of authorities hostage to protest the abusive use of force, the control of visits, access to washrooms and food (ABC Digital, June 22, 2008). On the issue of protecting prisoners’ rights, medical personnel can play an important role in reporting abuse, preventing torture and asking for the proper conditions to provide the needed medical treatments. The better course of action is to have outside medical services that put the inmates’ interest above those of the prison administration. Medical services must have no part in acts constituting torture or inhuman treatment and must stop any attempt to use inmates as guinea pigs to test possible treatments, without their consent or knowledge. Apart from the conditions in prisons, one also has to consider any pre-existing health problems, which is common among those who have to serve a sentence or be incarcerated pending trial. Most inmates come from the most disadvantaged sectors of society and therefore already have

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problems with nutrition and diet, a lack health care or no access to health services, illnesses that were never treated, and infections or addictions acquired in their life of crime (from the use of drugs and the sex trade). For example, the Secretariat of Health of Mexico (2008)81 reports that a serious epidemiological problem in that country is that 206,000 inmates use drugs, which is 95% of the total inmate population. This poses an enormous risk of HIV/AIDS or hepatitis B or C. New health problems may also develop as a result of the tougher penalties and the aging prison population, who will require different care and treatment. “Women in prison are particularly vulnerable as they come in disproportionate numbers from backgrounds of violence and abuse” (ICPS, 2004, Guidance Notes 10). Since most of the prison population are men, women inmates necessarily account for fewer health problems in absolute terms, with the exception of Panama where the number of women with some type of sexually transmitted disease far exceeds the number of men (232 and 45, respectively). In relative terms, the percentage of the inmate population with some health problem is higher among women than among men. For example, in Peru 3.7% of the male inmate population has some sexually transmitted disease, whereas the figure climbs to 33% for the female inmate population.82 As shown in Table 23, in Belize more than 13% of the female inmate population suffers from some sexually transmitted disease; in Panama that figure is 31%. In Belize, more than 15% of female inmates have been identified as having some mental disorder, a figure that takes on special significance when one considers the limited resources the institutions have to cope with problems of this type. Table 23. Presence of Disease in the Inmate Population, by Gender (Belize, Chile, Panama) 2008 Belize

Chile

Panama

Women

Men

Women

Men

Women

Men

Sexually transmitted diseases

13.1%

3.8%

0.4%

0.3%

31%

0.4%

Mental disorders

15.7%

3.1%

0.06%

0.07%

0.5%

0.3%

Other disease and illness

10.5%

2.4%

5%

2.7%

28.6%

15.3%

Source: prepared by author, 2008, using data supplied by the prison administrations, as of June 2008.

Based on the principles set forth in various international instruments, the following are the minimum that prison administrations should provide in terms of health care: initial medical screening on admission to the prison; regular outpatient consultations; emergency treatment; suitably equipped premises for consultation with and the treatment of prisoners; an adequate supply of appropriate medicines dispensed by qualified pharmacists; facilities for physiotherapy and post-treatment rehabilitation; and any special diets which may be identified as medically necessary. Individual prisoners are entitled to regular, confidential access to appropriate levels of medical consultation which is at least the equivalent to that available in civil society

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(Coyle, 2002). However, many prisons fall short of these standards, even with respect to basic health care; at times, they have no doctor on duty or medicines on hand. For humanitarian reasons, the normal course of action in cases of inmates with terminal illnesses is to release them early. This is one alternative available to the prison authorities: the release is on humanitarian grounds and not a special measure being taken to relieve overcrowding.83

The health issue in Colombia’s prisons. Health and sanitation issues are rarely investigated and even less publicized. External controls with access to prison-related information would do much to fill the information void. One example is the Ombudsman’s Office of Colombia, which in 2003 did research among inmates and prison officials on the subject of health services. The research found that the majority of inmates slept in cells, but not alone; that ventilation in the facilities was poor and that in many prisons the water supply was not reliable. The research also found that there was no budget to provide articles of personal hygiene, sheets and pillows. The food was not handled properly and the dietary recommendations for sick inmates were not followed. The medical care was found to be deficient in both quality and timing (no physician was on duty at night and for emergencies; not all the centers had nurses, so that the guards administered first aid); the vast majority of the correctional facilities did not have the services of a psychiatrist or psychologist; inmates were not provided medications and, for security reasons, family members were not allowed to bring them to their loved ones. Another interesting finding was that 59% of those surveyed said that sexually transmitted diseases were a problem in prison, but not just among the homosexual population (Ombudsman’s Office, December 2003). In fact, the number of HIV-positive inmates has increased from 121 in 2004 to 242 by mid 2008 (El Tiempo, June 23, 2008). Although the problems in the system were reported, in July 2008 the prison authorities again acknowledged that they did not have the human and technical resources necessary to provide quality health care (for example, in the Bellavista and Buen Pastor prisons in Medellín, only two physicians provide medical services to over 4,500 inmates). Many prisons do not have psychiatric services and the overcrowding makes the situation even worse, since some inmates are forced to sleep in bathrooms, corridors, or outside exposed to the elements (Caracol Radio, Colombia, July 17, 2008). Clearly the various authorities have not taken an interest in this matter. In a 1998 ruling, the Constitutional Court tried to impose a solution by ordering the National Prison Institute [Instituto Nacional Penitenciario y Carcelario] (INPEC) to implement a state-subsidized social security health system. However, nothing came of that ruling and each prison had to negotiate health services contracts directly with the closest hospitals. In 2006, an amendment introduced into a law required that inmates be enrolled in the health system. Since the regulations to govern the system have not been approved, the health system for inmates is still pending (El Tiempo, June 23, 2008).

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The initial medical screening, which is so essential to proper management of health services in prisons, apparently is not done in many cases; either that or the information is not entered into the system. When quality data are lacking, so is the basis for crafting public policies that yield good results. When the prison administrations were asked for figures on certain pathologies, the response was not always clear, which leads one to suppose that the screening that is supposed to be done upon admission (or during incarceration) is either not being done or the data are not being recorded. In Peru, for example, the only information available is estimates: the incidence of tuberculosis is anywhere from 20 to 40 times what it is in the rest of the population, depending on the prison in question; HIV is 1.5 to 5 times more prevalent than it is in the rest of the population; the suicide rate is considered low, as the number of cases ranged from 3 to 5 in 2007. As for mental disorders, only 1% of the prison population suffers from mental psychoses or schizophrenia; however, if depression, anxiety and stress are added in, the figures for mental disorders increase to 20 to 30%. The authorities themselves acknowledge that the data may not be getting fully recorded.84 Without question, it is the duty of all the authorities to secure better information. Knowing how many prisoners there are is not enough. One must also know their condition. Accordingly, it is becoming ever more imperative that human resources be trained and technical resources obtained to keep the information up-to-date.85 Inmate suicide is one undeniable manifestation of the consequences that incarceration in poor conditions or failure to treat mental disorders can have. Here, the situation varies from one country to the next in the region. In 2007, 8 men and 1 women committed suicide in Brazilian prisons (which represents a very small percentage of the total inmate population). However 14 prisons did not report their figures (InfoPen, Statistical Report, December 2007). At the other extreme, the Dominican Republic reports 3,029 men and 96 women committed suicide in its prisons, which is 17.6% and 0.5% of the total inmate population for each gender. In Mexico, the data from the Federal Public Security System shows that there were 2 suicides between January and April 2008; however, the Decentralized Administrative Organ for Prevention and Social Rehabilitation reports that 17 men and 1 woman committed suicide in 2007. In Venezuela, where inmates have staged numerous riots and protests over the bad conditions in the prisons, 10 suicides are reported for 2008. Chile, too, has a high number of suicides by comparison to other reporting countries. In 2007, 26 men committed suicide in Chile’s prisons. In Central America, Costa Rica and Panama reported 2 and 1 suicides, respectively. Both were men. However, Costa Rica also reports 5 suicide attempts by men and 1 by a woman in the first half of 2008. In Uruguay, 2 suicides were recorded in 2007. Belize and Paraguay have no suicides on record. This poses a statistical problem as it would mean that the suicide rate within society at large is not being matched in incarceration, which is completely counterintuitive. All too often inmates whose mental condition is such that they would be better off in hospitals remain incarcerated; their condition can worsen because prevention and supervision systems are lacking, as are the treatments that these pathologies require.

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From time to time, the warden at the Casa del Buen Pastor (a women’s correctional facility) in Paraguay instructs the inmates in contraceptive and prevention methods; however, based on the evaluation done by Paraguay’s Inter-Institutional Commission, one finds that sick inmates are abandoned and forgotten, especially those suffering with mental disorders. At the Pedro Juan Caballero Regional Penitentiary, the Commission witnessed a terrible example of how sick inmates are treated, as those suffering from mental disorders slept on the floor, outdoors. While the figure for the prison population varies greatly in each country –which is why other variables are needed to analyze the real impact of health problemssome observations can be made. In Paraguay, 2.6% of the inmates have some pathology; in Chile, that figure is 3.3%; in Mexico, 7.7%; in Belize, 10%; in Costa Rica, 13% and in Panama 19% of the inmate population.86 As for the presence of various illnesses, diseases and disorders,87 the graph shows that mental disorders are a significant presence; only in Panama is the percentage of this type of disorder very small. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are the largest group of diseases in Belize’s inmate population.88

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Graph 38. Percentage of the inmate population with health problems

Source: prepared by author, 2008, using data supplied by the prison administrations of the countries illustrated. Data are as of June 2008, except in the case of Chile, whose data are as of December 2007. See breakdown in annex.

Part of the job of preventing and treating illness and disease in prisons is to involve external health services (whether public or private) which affords access to new treatments, specialized care in some areas, and training. This last element is particularly vital: in emergencies –especially at night- the prison staff will render first aid when the health staff are not present (Coyle, 2002). Including outside medical personnel can have the effect of introducing important reforms to address specific needs and to improve health care. Outside medical services also provide the benefit of independent opinions and place the needs of inmates first and thus earn their confidence and trust. Conversely, it is also advisable that the in-house medical staff be trained in how to deal with inmates. The latter could take these staff members into their confidence and use them as a conduit for their demands (as in hostage taking). Some members of the medical staff may not have special training in dealing with addicts, people with psychiatric disorders and especially violent people. However, coordinating with other health care services can bring its own set of problems, as happened recently in Argentina when the Coronda prison in Santa Fe province shut down its psychiatric cellblock. The ministries of health, justice and security announced the closure at the same time as the Coordinator of Prison Work at that facility disclosed a letter that inmates had sent to her. The letter described the deplorable conditions of 14 inmates housed in the so-called “corralito:” they were held in rooms with leaky ceilings and whose bathrooms did not work. They were taken by force, having been injected with substances no longer in use (July 11 and 20, 2008). However, when the transfer of the sick inmates to a psychiatric hospital was announced, the staff of the hospital said that their facility had neither the infrastructure nor the staff for patients of that type and that their addition would strain the hospital’s treatment capacity beyond its limits (July 30, 2008). 119


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Again in Argentina, the data from the Federal Prison System show an increase in the number of visits to infirmaries. The analysis done by the Federal Prison System is that the increase is due to the development of primary health care and preventive health care. A new medical center (HPC) went into operation, which enabled inmates to be treated and/or referred for treatment by doctor’s offices on the outside. More and/or better programs were offered related to addicts, sexual offenders and violence violent inmates?. Finally, the number of visits for infectious diseases declined because there were fewer carriers. Specifically, there was a 6% decline in medical visits seeking treatment for infectious diseases. Table 24. Medical Care Provided by Argentina’s Federal Penitentiary System STD medical care

Year 2005

Year 2007

Total professionals

340

550

Total visits

223778

259966

Intramural hospitalizations

1073

1566

Extramural hospitalizations

834

1372

Referrals

4973

9695

Source: Federal Prison System [Sistema Penitenciaria Federal] (SPF).

The situation in Paraguay is not very different. Health care for inmates is not good and not sustained over time. The evaluation done by the Inter-Institutional Commission in 2006 found no improvement over 2004, when its first report was released. The figures show that the medical staffing is insufficient, and is not ever-present. Only nurses look after the health of all the inmates in a prison. As for dental care, while many prisons have dentistry equipment, judging by the data in the Commission’s evaluation most of that equipment is not functional. Table 25. Health Care Services Available in Paraguayan Prisons, 2006 Health Care General practitioners

19

Dentists

6

Psychologists

3

Psychiatrists

2

Nurses

10

Neurologist

1

Gynecologist

1

Ophthalmologist

1

Social worker

1

Dermatologist

1

Total

45

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Prisons have little in the way of medical supplies. Very little is supplied by the Ministry of Justice and Labor; the bulk of the medications for inmates is donated. A detailed analysis of all the facilities found that only one (the Casa del Buen Pastor Women’s Correctional Facility) was treated and disinfected by the National Malaria Eradication Service [Servicio Nacional de Erradicación del Paludismo] (SENEPA). There are no records of inmates with chronic conditions or systematic treatment for them. A case in point is that a number of HIV positive cases had to be transferred to the Central Laboratory and Institute of Tropical Medicine [Laboratorio Central e Instituto de Medicina Tropical] (LACIMET), which had to go to the prisons to pick up these patients. This creates ill-will and difficulties between the inmates and the guards.

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Uruguay: problems and progress in health care.* Based on the Prison System’s Performance and Evaluation Report, 2006 and 2007, one can safely say that prison food and health care continue to be substandard, both qualitatively and quantitatively (2007: 46). According to the data compiled by the Special Committee to Monitor the Prison System and for Dialogue with the Parliamentary Commissioner, the prison system had only 108 physicians in 2006. More than one establishment had no assigned physician and almost none had a dentist. According to that report, there are at least six pressing problems related to the health of inmates (2007: 46-49), namely: a) in most prisons, no health screening is done upon admission; b) the medical and dental services are a constant source of complaints from inmates; c) medications are not distributed on a regular basis; prisons in general use the single dose system, in order to prevent the trafficking in medications inside the prison walls, especially psychopharmaceuticals; d) there has been no prison hospital since 1986, which means that the more complicated cases, visits with specialists, surgeries, and clinical laboratory studies are coordinated with the Ministry of Public Health; e) there are no reliable figures on the number of inmates carrying HIV, and f) there are no figures on the number of habitual drug users. The Ministry of Public Health does not properly concern itself with the health of inmates in the prison system. With the exception of inmates infected with and carrying HIV and the BK virus, the Ministry of Public Health does not provide any health care specifically for inmates. Ultimately any health care the inmates receive depends on the resources and coordination work of the medical service of the DNCyCR and the departmental police headquarters. The interview with the National Director of Prisons, Senior Inspector Jorge Gustavo Szas Bernal, and the Deputy Director, Senior Inspector Horacio Zaugg Zerpa** painted a slightly less discouraging picture. They said that a file card is on record for each inmate, indicating certain routine tests done upon admission to the prison facility. This does not square with the information in the Parliamentary Report. However, the two officials did agree with the Parliamentary Report’s finding that prisons are understaffed in terms of doctors and other health care personnel. They also noted that with the budgetary increase, some specialists have gradually been added to fill available vacant positions. They acknowledge, however, that the medical staffing is still too small. It was also noted that there is often reluctance on the part of public health workers toward working in prisons and treating inmates, which is mainly a product of fear. The fact that there are no special hospitals for inmates creates enormous problems in terms of transporting inmates to hospitals beyond the prison walls and guarding them once they are there. This is why a number of specific polyclinics have been set up for each sector. In COMCAR, one of the most overpopulated prisons in Uruguay, there is a room for in-house hospitalization and primary health care, equipped with medical and dental devices which, the officials say, are new and in optimum condition. An aging inmate population has added new problems related to needs and levels of medical care. As for sexually transmitted diseases, up-to-date statistics on inmates suffering from these conditions is difficult to obtain, since when they are admitted to the prison system, the test for HIV/AIDS is done on a voluntary basis, in observance of international rules that prohibit mandatory testing. * Information compiled by Fernando Cafferata. ** The interview was conducted on July 31, 2008.

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Overall, conditions in Venezuelan prisons are gradually deteriorating: the infrastructure is crumbling; medical services are less accessible; periodic medical checkups and treatment are not done; and violence and overcrowding are ever-present. The health of any person incarcerated in a Venezuelan prison suffers a significant decline overall. The prisons have little in the way of medical staff. The precise number is not known. However, according to the OVP Report, 64.9% of prisons have medical staff, at least one (1) doctor; in some cases, nurses were also present. But the number of staff in either case –physicians or nurses- is insufficient for the number of inmates. The shortage is also in evidence in the supplies available for regular medical care and personnel specialized in other priority areas like dentistry, psychiatry, and so on. There was no evidence of the kind of specialists that can help treat the medical disorders that one finds among inmates. The law provides that a medical examination must be done when the inmate is admitted to the prison (Article 38 of the Prison Regime Law, June 19, 2000). However, according to the OVP’s statistics and other sources, 92.2% of the inmates admitted are not given medical checkups. This is also a violation of articles 39, 40 and 42, regarding the delivery of emergency medical services and other public health services. There is no precise information as to whether a person, before being admitted to the prison or judicial detention facility, is given some type of treatment or evaluation because of an existing physical or mental condition. Assuming that a checkup is done prior to admission and discovers some illness that is serious or requires constant treatment, once inside prison the inmate will not receive the necessary care because the prison does not have trained medical staff, or even the medications needed to treat an illness and the basic supplies to handle any emergency. Given the violence rampant within the prison system, Venezuela is a long way from being able to comply with recommendations such as those made to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in prisons and detention facilities run by the criminal justice system89 and does not have modern practices for treating infectious diseases. None of the investigations conducted found any evidence to suggest that periodic medical checkups were being conducted. From time to time, health fairs were held, but not in all the prisons. One example would be the ophthalmology health fair staged by the National Women’s Guidance Institute [Instituto Nacional de Orientación Femenina] (INOF). However, because there are no regular and reliable checkups, there is no practical data on the actual incidence of various pathologies among the inmate population. Prisons are places that lend themselves to the spread of disease, since the budget that Venezuelan prisons have is very small and not sufficient to provide inmates with a balanced diet and healthy living conditions.90 For example, the potable water and food that persons inside prisons consume are mainly provided by their families, even though it is the State’s duty to ensure that prison inmates are properly fed. Furthermore, the gradual deterioration of the prisons’ physical structure means that excrement and urine cannot be properly flushed out, creating an environment conducive to the spread of diseases like cholera, digestive disorders and others.

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In Central America, Guatemala has 48 physicians for 45 prisons. However, 20 of these physicians are working in the administrative area; 10 work 8-hour days in some prisons; the remaining 18 are on call. Obviously, not all prisons have a physician on staff. With circumstances as they are, the right to health cannot be properly guaranteed. Routine medical screenings are not done when the person is admitted to the prison facility or during incarceration. Inmates are seen by physicians only when the condition is serious or when the inmate requests it. There is no established system for monitoring the health and physical condition of each individual.91 In Honduras, almost no correctional facility has the minimum medical and nursing staff or the medications and medical supplies for inmate care. The entire prison system has only 42 people to provide health services (COFADEH, 2006). In Panama, the Report on the Prison Situation in Panama (2006) states that of the 12 most populated and most important penal institutions in the country, 67% report poor health conditions; the remaining 33% have been classified as moderately acceptable. In early 2008, a report by Panama’s Justice and Peace Commission complained that there were only three general practitioners, one gynecologist and one psychiatrist for the entire inmate population. This report indicated that the line item for the prison system in the Panamanian State budget was 14.6 million dollars in 2007; yet only 27,000 dollars was used for medication and equipment.92 Elsewhere, there are special hospitals for the inmate population. In Brazil, for example, there are 31 hospitals for the custody and treatment of inmates; Chile has one in Santiago. In Chile, patients from prisons elsewhere in the country are taken to public hospitals. No matter where the treatment is to be administered, Chile’s Gendarmerie has a groups of guards specialized in transports; they even wear a different uniform. During a visit to the hospital of the Santiago Prison, the conditions were found to be sufficiently sanitary, and inmates were properly segregated according to the severity of their condition; the security guards (gendarmes) were very much in evidence. Any substandard condition in health care can lead to an inmate’s death, whether caused by a lack of proper care or treatment, acts of violence, suffocation amid the overcrowding and lack of ventilation. Some inmates even commit suicide when they are no longer able to endure the prison conditions and the incarceration. At other times, an inmate’s life might be lost because of a lack of transport in an emergency situation (ICPS, Guidance Notes 10). Thus, even in those countries where the death penalty does not exist, the subhuman conditions of a prison may become a death sentence for many inmates.

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The Activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross on Behalf of Persons Deprived of Their Liberty in Latin America The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization whose mission is to provide protection and assistance to victims of armed conflicts and civil violence. The ICRC also endeavors to prevent the suffering of victims by promoting and strengthening the law and universal humanitarian principles. The international community has given the ICRC a mandate, recognized in law and emanating from the Geneva Conventions. There, the ICRC is instructed to visit prisoners, organize aid operations, reunite separated families and other humanitarian activities during armed conflicts. The Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement encourage similar activities in situations involving internal strife, where the Geneva Conventions do not apply. In Latin America, the ICRC expanded its activities beyond the realm of armed conflict, to include also internal disturbances and other situations involving internal strife (political or social tensions) or public disturbance. One characteristic typical of such situations is that detainees do not have effective means to protect themselves against abuses or arbitrary acts that are committed or may be committed against them. That lack of protection may be routine, or it may occur in these exceptional situations of internal strife. Either way, the ICRC is there to protect detainees who do not enjoy the minimum standard of protection that should be expected from the authorities. Such detainees may also be the victims of an abuse of power by individuals. The main objective of the ICRC’s work on behalf of persons deprived of their liberty is to ensure that they are treated humanely and that their dignity is respected. It also seeks to prevent disappearances, combat torture and mistreatment, improve the physical and psychological conditions of detention and enable contact between the detainee and his or her family. During its visits, the ICRC also concerns itself with other detainees confined in the same places, for cases involving common crimes. The ICRC operates from the premise that all detainees are affected by their condition and that the ICRC’s own principles of humanitarianism and impartiality are being disregarded if it concerns itself with the fate of just one category of detainee, when the others have the very same and at times even more pressing needs. Some States have difficulty operating their prisons properly because of a lack of technical, financial and human resources. The ICRC has expanded its field of activity and takes a more comprehensive approach to its endeavors on behalf of persons deprived of liberty. Today, the ICRC tries to combine its visits (to check the facts on the ground and then make its recommendations) with establishing what blame the authorities might bear; providing advice and technical assistance on a variety of subjects (prison administration, health, habitat, etc.), and providing training and skill sharing. It is important to point out that the ICRC’s goal is to cooperate with the authorities and to have a close, structured, professional and transparent relationship with them. After visiting a penal institution, the ICRC endeavors to set up a dialogue, since this will enable it to maintain a flow of objective information based on regular contact with detainees, all of which will culminate in proposed solutions. For this exercise to be constructive and bear fruit, the dialogue must be based on a relationship of trust that is established and cultivated because of the confidential nature of the

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ICRC’s work, among other factors. The ICRC does not publish its observations; instead, it sends them directly to the authorities concerned, as confidential information. Confidentiality is a modus operandi and a strategic choice that enables the Committee to tackle certain issues that as a rule are very sensitive. Confidentiality enables the Committee to operate with complete independence and without the pressure exerted by public opinion, the news media or political organizations. That confidentiality is undoubtedly the key that opens doors for the ICRC, especially when the authorities are hesitant about giving outsiders access to certain places. In 2007, the ICRC visited 518,277 persons deprived of their liberty in 77 countries. In Latin America, the Committee has a long history in prison work. It visited prisoners for the first time during the Chaco War fought between Bolivia and Paraguay (1932-1935). In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, its representatives visited persons detained for security reasons in the following countries of this hemisphere: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. In the 1980s the ICRC’s activities focused on the countries hardest hit by internal strife, particularly in Central America. In 1982, the ICRC visited prisoners of war during the Malvinas/Falklands crisis between Argentina and the United Kingdom. In the 1990s, the ICRC’s activities on behalf of persons deprived of liberty in this hemisphere focused mainly on Colombia and Peru, although it was also active in Mexico at the time of the armed uprising in the southern state of Chiapas. At the present time, the ICRC is working on behalf of persons deprived of their liberty in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Grenada, Guantanamo Bay, Haiti, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. Overcrowding In Latin America, as in the rest of the world, the ICRC is troubled by the following: • The poor condition of the prison infrastructure that houses the detainees; • The fact that too few alternatives to imprisonment are even considered; • The fact that many people are held in preventive detention for protracted periods of time, and • The harsher penalties being imposed in many countries. All these factors have served to increase the inmate population, which now lives in severely overcrowded conditions, which in turn has heightened the violence as well. Efforts to create more space and build new facilities for the sake of more humane and decent incarceration conditions have thus far proved to be too little and have come too late. Protection of vulnerable groups The prison systems in the region are designed on the premise that the sentence has a rehabilitational function. One of the central elements is the treatment in prison. This approach has been the target of criticism from various quarters: • One argument is that one can hardly pretend to teach values in prison that will prepare one for life on the outside; • Another argument is that there are no studies demonstrating this approach’s positive results; and • Adequate therapeutic programs have never prospered in a prison environment where overcrowding is severe, the infrastructure is in poor condition and few if any professionals are in charge.

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The foregoing notwithstanding, the ICRC’s view is that the rehabilitational function of the sentence ought not to be abandoned, as this would transform a prison into nothing more than a place for incarceration and punishment, and the sentence would amount to nothing more than retribution. However, looking at the problem and prison treatment from a new angle, one finds that certain factors have an enormous impact on the daily life of someone deprived of his liberty. Internal strife is virtually endemic to prisons –especially the large-scale and heavily overpopulated facilities. This materializes in the form of illegal fees charged for protection, access to a cell and basic services, physical and psychological mistreatment and even violation of sexual freedom. These abuses are inflicted through power structures controlled by the dominant groups. An inmate population is not a homogeneous group; instead, it is made up of various sectors of the prison population. This means that prison does not affect everyone the same way. Therefore, without abandoning the important activities carried out thus far to provide decent, humane prison treatment, two basic measures are being proposed as priorities: rigorous classification of inmates into homogeneous segments (assignment of prison, cellblock and cell); and protective measures for incarcerated persons who may be more vulnerable, in order to prevent the internal strife in prisons from causing permanent damage to the personality of the incarcerated person. Health in prison The ICRC has found that the authorities running prison systems in Latin America generally put the emphasis on security, to the detriment of other matters related to treatment, health and administration. On the matter of health, the ICRC has found that the inmate population does not yet have proper health care systems. Only recently have the health systems in prisons been regarded as priority issues for some prison authorities in the region, although they do not yet have sufficient human, technical and financial resources or clear strategies and are prioritizing the cure over prevention and encouragement of healthy lifestyles. The ICRC has also established that the ministries of health are developing effective national strategies with funds from the state and technical and financial support from international organizations like the Global Fund and the Pan American Health Organization. Unfortunately most of these programs do not include inmates as a target population, even though prisons are places in which communicable diseases flourish and then spread to the general population through visitors to the prison and released inmates. This takes its toll on public health nationwide. The ministry of health should, therefore, include inmates among its target population. Cooperation between the ministry in charge of prisons and the ministry of health is essential and the latter has recently started to cultivate that relationship in Latin America. In an effort to improve the health situation of inmates in various Latin American countries, the ICRC is providing structural support to the prison health systems, in the form of the following: • Completing diagnostic studies of the prison health systems in Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and, in the near future, Colombia.93

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• Lobbying the health ministries to include inmates in their programs, by signing inter-ministerial cooperation agreements at the national or local government level. • Financial support to the prison health bureaus so that they can make supervisory visits to prisons, organize national seminars on prison health, train their personnel to enhance job performance, train inmates as health advocates, produce instructive materials that encourage good health and prevention adapted to suit the prison environment, develop inmate health data systems through consulting services, payment of salaries or supplying computers. • Technical support for academic papers presented at national and international seminars on health in prisons, to design health advocacy programs, to develop health data systems, and to better organize the prison health bureaus. • Annual national meetings on health in prisons, in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru, where the academic papers presented and the experiences shared help to improve the participants’ performance. • Organization of annual international seminars, which started five years ago and brought together key players in the prison health systems in the Latin American countries, giving them an opportunity to share experiences and strategies in this area and learn from the academic papers presented • Lobbying international organizations like the Global Fund and others, for support to improve the health care systems in prisons. In 2003, Peru received US$7 million from the Global Fund for a five-year program to control HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in prisons, through new infrastructure, equipment, training, medications and technical support. The Global Fund’s project and interministerial cooperation agreements with the Ministry of Health brought a marked improvement in the health of inmates in that country. Recommendations To reduce overcrowding, the ICRC is proposing the following measures: • Recommend to the Judicial Branch of the countries of the region that greater use be made of alternatives to incarceration, in keeping with their laws. • Recommend to the Judicial and Legislative Branches that they develop and apply measures to reduce the number of people held in prolonged preventive detention. • Recommend to the Legislative Branch that it review the criminal laws on the books to ensure that the penalties assigned fit the crime, in keeping with the principle of proportionality. • Recommend to the Executive Branch that it implement policies to reduce overcrowding by granting more presidential pardons, when possible. To better protect vulnerable groups, the ICRC is recommending the following measures to those responsible for prison administration: • Insist on rigorous classification of inmates into homogeneous segments based on inmates’ criminological profile, and to use this classification system to assign the inmates to the proper prison, cellblock and cell. • Implement policies to protect the more vulnerable inmates, such as preferential access to basic prison services (health, work, education, and legal assistance), assignment to suitable cellblocks and cells, and daytime and nighttime security measures. • Conduct social reinsertion programs through education, productive work and occupational activities. To improve the health of inmates, the ICRC is recommending the following measures to those responsible for the prison administrations and/or the ministries of health:

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• Pay more attention to the structural factors that determine health and that are conducive to physical and/or mental disease and disorders, such as the generalized problem of overcrowding, deficient sanitation and hygiene, poor ventilation and natural lighting, dietary deficiencies, unsafe water, etc. • As one of the keys to improving health in prisons, conclude inter-ministerial cooperation agreements with the ministry of health so that the inmate population can be included in programs conducted by the national health system. • Develop strategies and more effective measures to control infectious-contagious diseases in prisons, like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. The emphasis should be on prevention and advocating better health. These strategies should cultivate health advocacy programs that make inmates active participants in finding solutions to health problems. • Actively interact with the ministry of health so that the projects presented to international agencies like the Global Fund and others include inmates.

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The Hemisphere’s Best Practices in Social Re-integration By Olga Espinoza Mavila* The prison system in most countries is laboring under terrible problems. One of the principal problems is the scarcity of programs to enable those in prison to become reintegrated into society upon release. The services and programs offered tend to be limited in scope. This is true of most Latin American countries, although the problem can also be found in the countries of North America as well.94 The picture becomes even bleaker when one realizes that the few programs and services that do exist do not feature any post-release intervention to assist the inmate and continue the reintegration learning process. This is costly for the public services and makes it all the more difficult for these former inmates to become re-assimilated into society. To address these problems, an effort has been made to identify practices that can be replicated in other contexts. However, there does not appear to be any uniform understanding of what constitutes ‘best practices.’ The principal characteristics of ‘best practices’ have to be spelled out: the fact that they can be replicated; that they can be adapted to fit other scenarios; that they are permanent or continuous; that they are sustainable, and that they are conducted within a framework of institutionalism. Furthermore, expectations are that the experience will be evaluated by third parties, as a function of the process carried out, the result obtained and the impact that the result may have had.95 While Latin America has various innovative practices, some the product of public initiative and others of private initiative, most have not been institutionalized; fewer still have been evaluated. Nevertheless, viewed from the angle of social reinsertion, a number of these practices stand out, as their goal was to heal the scars that any time in prison leaves behind. The ultimate goal was to make the subjects less vulnerable and alter their perception of self. Some of the experiments described below do not have all the qualities of successful practices. However, they were innovative and tackled important areas (identified as crucial in the reinsertion process).96 They were included in these brief comments for that reason.97 La Bodega de la Familia [The Family Store]98 (A program that works with the family and neighborhood in treating persons with substance abuse problems) United States – New York.99 The objective of this program has been to make families part of the federal government’s response to substance abuse and to improve the chances of a successful outcome through community supervision of persons who have had trouble with the law (and are on probation or parole). The working method gives the family a role in treating the user. However, it also provides advice and support to this group, so that they can share their frustrations and problems.

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Once they have unburdened themselves, they are better prepared to help each other. The program also provides prevention services for the community. At the present time, the team of professionals (most of whom are bilingual) assists around a thousand families.100 One of its chief findings is that family-centered intervention can be a plus for the safety of the community and the health of the user being treated. PEACE AND CO-EXISTENCE IN PRISONS (a project that gets inmates involved in protecting the citizens of their community) Colombia.101 Using the method called the Peace Spiral, this project’s objective is to devise a series of measures that encourage inmates from Colombia’s Bellavista Prison to get involved in development projects in their home community. One of the most prominent measures was the Delación por la Paz [Informing for Peace], in which information was relayed to local (municipal) authorities about who their allies might be in arranging peace and co-existence agreements among rival youth groups, in exchange for prison benefits (a reduction of sentence). Another initiative was to set up a permanent Peace and Co-existence office inside the prison (and staffed by inmates) for the purpose of conducting measures to publicize and be a conduit for inmate initiatives and to maintain ties with representatives from the community. A television station was set up inside the prison, with support from private enterprise, to publicize the project and to make the prison community aware of the advantages that could accrue to them. Professionals from the municipality will be advising these and other initiatives. The Colombian Penitentiary and Prison Institute [Instituto Penitenciario de Colombia] (INPEC), the Office of the Mayor of Bellavista, the police, businesses, the Ombudsman’s Office, the church and the media all partnered on this initiative, which ran from August 1997 to August 1999. The project ended in part because of a lack of effective partnering by institutions, the lack of proper administrative management (among those in charge of the inmates) and because the bill proposing lower sentences for those who informed and worked for peace never materialized. COMMUNITY COUNCILS (The community’s involvement in managing the prison) Brazil.102 This initiative was created by the Law on Execution of Sentence (1984). The sentence enforcement judge convenes representatives of the local community103 to work on the objective of this initiative, which is re-socialization of those who are released from the prison system and to improve the lot of the inmates who remained confined. To that end, they identify the problems that inmates face and look for solutions in partnership with the authorities. This initiative is also a means to observe and track the activities of the prison system so as to help improve conditions inside prison. They can also wage public awareness campaigns in the community104 to induce various community groups to get involved in the social reintegration process. They are, therefore, a nexus between the prison and the community.105

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MY TIME IS NOW (A post-prison re-entry program) Chile106. This program began as a pilot project in 2001. In 2003, it became a permanent program under Chile’s Gendarmerie, as one of the programs of the National Inmates Patronage. Its objective is to help vulnerable young people of both sexes re-enter the job market. These young people range in age from 19 to 35. They have been released from the prison system and are not repeat offenders. The method of approach establishes three levels of intervention: individual, family and job/educational. At each one of the levels of intervention, the beneficiary is monitored, controlled and tracked for a period of nine months (which begins in April of each year). At the individual level, information is provided; the former inmate is referred to specialized groups and social skills are reawakened or cultivated. At the family level, the project tries to enlist the family as support (basically for affective containment) and to intervene when difficult situations arise. Finally, at the job/educational level, the goal is to make the program’s participants more employable. The monitor’s principal role is to build a relationship of trust that can be used to identify problems and possible strategies for change. The avenues pursued are psychosocial support, training and job placement, and legal counsel during the process of cleaning up one’s record. Every year, the program helps 350 former inmates. At the present time, it is functioning in seven cities throughout Chile. * Attorney. Masters in Law from the University of Sao Paolo (Brazil). Coordinator of the Prison Studies Area of the Center for Citizen Safety Studies – CESC, of the University of Chile.


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A tough job: prison ofďŹ cials and staff.


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

6. A tough job: prison officials and staff. The following figures are representative of the configuration of prison staffing in some countries. They show the number of inmates per staff member, as the total number of inmates divided by the total number of staff, both in the area of supervision and surveillance and in the area of reinsertion. Male staff can be a problem in women’s correctional facilities. Therefore, figures are also given to show the number of female inmates per female staff member, but only for the security jobs. In the area of reinsertion or reintegration, the relationship of the staff to the inmates tends to be less conflict-ridden; as a rule, staff of both genders work with the male and female inmates. In general terms, the number of inmates for every staff member is between 5 and 10 in most cases (Belize, Guatemala, Chile and Paraguay. Costa Rica is at one extreme, with only 3 inmates per staff member. In Peru and Panama, the two countries where the ratio is highest, the figures are 15 and 19, respectively. According to El Salvador’s General Bureau of Penal Institutions, in January 2007 the prison system had 840 security guards, which is a ratio of 18.6 inmates per guard. The ratio of women inmates per female guard is always smaller than the norm; in other words, every female staff member is in charge of fewer inmates that her counterpart in men’s prisons. In any event, these figures are estimates, as a significant percentage of prison guards are involved in administrative functions at least part of the time; in practice this means that when violence breaks out in an incarceration facility, there are very few prison staff members left to deal with a large number of inmates. This puts the safety of the staff and the inmates in jeopardy, since the security strategies may drastically change when the security personnel are understaffed. Examples of the danger and difficulties that prison staff face occurred recently in several prisons in Latin America. In Paraguay, 20 inmates in a cellblock rioted to protest the bad living conditions, the physical mistreatment, access to bathrooms and abuses committed against family members in the routines followed for visitors. The warden of the prison, the staff member in charge of prison affairs, the chief of security and two guards were taken hostage in this incident (June 22, 2008). In Venezuela, a prison riot left the warden and other prison officials and staff injured; some inmates sustained bullet wounds (July 4, 2008). But that was not the only riot in a Venezuelan prison recently. In June, a riot broke out in Sabaneta prison, which left one dead and four injured. Military troops and the National Guard intervened in this episode and took over the prison. However, citing “reasons of security,” family members were not given any information and no prosecutors or judges were allowed inside. At the Vista Hermosa prison, the inmates went on a hunger strike, seeking the warden’s removal because of his failure to comply with the technical boards’ recommendations for the privileges that the law grants to inmates (June 10, 2008). At that same prison, 328 relatives of inmates allowed themselves to be taken hostage. They decided to stay to support their relatives’ demands. The hostages included children (June 1, 2008). Shortly thereafter, a similar episode happened at another prison (El Rodeo I) where 904 people remained inside the prison to support their relatives’ demands to be accorded the benefits that the law provides and for transfer units for inmates (July 17, 2008). Following an escape attempt at a Uruguayan prison, the members of the police union expressed their concern over the danger to which their colleagues are exposed. Back in December 2007,

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they themselves had filed a complaint with the head of security, the court and the ministry of labor, reporting the prison’s vulnerabilities. When the escape attempt happened, only 6 guards were on duty for 200 inmates. They were assisted by members of the police force, some of whom were injured. Inmates were also injured because of the weapons inside the prison (May 28, 2008). A prison riot broke out in Argentina. Two inmates (who had led another riot back in 2005) held two guards hostage (June 23, 2008). In the Dominican Republic the Attorney General has denied accusations of torture, observing that a strategic plan is being implemented that features personnel trained at the National Prison School, individuals with high school and university educations. One requirement is that the individual must not be a police officer or guard, as this plan is reportedly an attempt to change the militarist culture (July 8, 2008). A lower inmate/staff ratio can help ensure a closer and more personal relationship between staff members and inmates. But the quality of the staff is also important. In other words, they must have special training and preparation for prison work; if their training is weaker, the dominant inmates will take charge and the security of the prison will be imperiled. The education required to be a guard is usually a secondary education. However, they need not have completed that secondary education. In countries like Guatemala, where the level of schooling of the population in general is lower, it is understandable that the level of schooling required to be a prison guard would also be lower (only an elementary education is required in Guatemala). However, where the level of education required of prison guards is lower than what it should be, they should be offered basic training opportunities in combination with specialized training for prison work, especially when one considers that most inmates are from the most disadvantaged sectors; most of them have not completed their educations. Prison staff must have a command of security techniques and be able to prepare reports and be in contact with the inmates. For this reason, prison staff must undergo constant training and must not lose contact with the real world lest they lose their ability to respond to the inmates’ behavior (Coyle, 2002). However, in practice the initial training takes anywhere from two to four months. In some cases, targeted training is provided throughout the staff member’s career. In Chile, for example, staff members (guards and professionals alike) receive specific training, as happened upon implementation of the reforms to the code of criminal procedure, the juvenile penal law, and the creation of private incarceration facilities. Every time one of these changes affected their work, the staff received additional training. But in training terms, Chile would appear to be the exception, since its prison personnel receive special training: one year in the case of enlisted personnel, and two years in the case of the officers in the Gendarmerie School. Thereafter, the institution makes it possible for officers to pursue university degrees. The result is that over a thousand gendarmes have professional degrees, even though they may not be practicing their specialization in prison work. The real incentive to pursue these studies is the pay increase, and not so much the opportunity to engage in other work. Argentina’s Federal Prison System has a specific institute to train its officers and enlisted personnel. It is part of the General Bureau of the Prison Corp, through the Office of the Director of Staff Training Institutes. Once the entry and training phase is over, every staff member goes through

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various stages of training. This is the function of the Academy for Higher Prison Studies. The institution also encourages post-secondary and university education through agreements and subsidies arranged with institutes and private universities.107 The commitment to train staff in the prison service would appear to be a serious one. The staff of the service is divided by grade and category. The program that a staff member follows depends on his or her classification. However, these best practices cannot be applied through the entire Argentine prison system, since there are places in which the custody, protection and surveillance of inmates is handled by police officials. Table 26. Staff of Argentina’s Federal Prison System 2007 Total By Grade

By Category

By Gender

By Function

9829 Superior

1345

Subordinate

8484

General Staff

7183

Administrative

128

Professional

1613

Auxiliary

905

Male

7346

Female

2483

Administrative

2735

Security

5068

Treatment

2026

Ratio inmate/agent (security-treatment)

0.786

Source: Federal Prison System, Performance Indicators 2006-2007.

In the case of personnel not involved in prison security –such as those working in reinsertion, rehabilitation or the use of alternative measures- the relationship is the inverse, since in most cases these are university-educated professionals who, if they are to help the inmates that they were hired to treat, must be able to communicate with them at their level. Although these staff have higher levels of education, they too must have specific training in the area and their work needs to be monitored and evaluated. “It should not be assumed that people who have had a professional training, say as teachers, will automatically be suitable to work in a prison environment.” (Coyle, 2002)

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Table 27. Belize’s Prison Personnel

194

Re-entry personnel, alternative measures or other functions 20

Men

176

15

Women

18

5

Number of male inmates per male staff member

6.8

66

Number of female inmates per female staff member

2.1

Time of training

12 hours

9 hours

Level of education

Secondary

Secondary

BELIZE

Prison control and surveillance

Total

Source of data: Belize Central Prison’s database.

Table 28. Guatemala’s Prison Personnel GUATEMALA Staff in charge of prison control and surveillance Total

1,370

Men

1,211

Women

159

Number of male inmates per male staff member

6

Number of female inmates per female staff member

3

Training period

4 months

Level of education

Elementary

Source: General Bureau of the Prison System

Table 29. Panama’s Prison Personnel

PANAMA

Prison control and surveillance personnel

Personnel to work on reinsertion, alternative measures, or other functions

Total

561

102

Men

449

25

Women

112

77

Number of male inmates per male staff member

19.5

107.6

Number of female inmates per female staff member

6.5

Training period

3 months

5 years

Level of education

High school

University

Source: General Bureau of the Prison System.

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Table 30. Costa Rica’s Prison Personnel COSTA RICA

Prison control and surveillance personnel

Personnel to work on reinsertion, alternative measures or other functions

Total

2861

1174

Men

2636

558

Women

225

Number of male inmates per staff member

3.1

7.7

Number of female inmates per female staff member

2

0.7

Training period *

2 months’ training...

Variable

Level of education

At least the third year of secondary education

High school, technical and professional degrees

Source of data: Prison Police Bureau; Social Adaptation Personnel Office, Ministry of Justice: * Basic: two months’ training; Specialization: chain of custody (seizures), hostage taking, crisis management, HIV, weapons management -these are two- to three-day courses; course on analysis and intelligence, one month long for one person per year; course for promotion for officers, inspectors and supervisors, two weeks long.

Table 31. Chile’s Prison Personnel CHILE

Prison Control and Surveillance Personnel

Personnel working on reinsertion, alternative measures or other functions

Total

8,774

661

Men

7,318

246

Women

1,456

415

Number of male inmates per male staff member

5.5

73

Number of female inmates per female staff member

2.2

7.8

Training period

2 years for officers; 1 year for enlisted personnel

8 to 10 semesters

Level of education

Officers, a full secondary education; enlisted personnel must have completed at least two years of secondary education.

Professionals must have 4 to 5 years of training in various areas.

Source: Gendarmerie Personnel Department, 2008.

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Table 32. Uniformed Personnel of the Chilean Gendarmerie That Have Professional Degrees Uniformed personnel with a university degree LEVEL IN THE HEIRARCHY

WOMEN

MEN

Total

PRISON OFFICIALS

17

113

130

PRISON GUARDS

111

828

939

Source: Gendarmerie Personnel Department, 2008.

Table 33. Peru’s Prison Personnel Prison Control and Surveillance Personnel

Prison Personnel working in reinsertion, alternative measures or other functions

Total

2850

978

Men

2258

513

Women

592

465

Number of male inmates per male staff member

15

44

Number of female inmates per female staff member

5

-

Training period

4 months

University/Higher

Level of education

Technical/Prison Agents

Professional

PERU

Source of data: Office of the Deputy Director of the National Prison Institute [Instituto Nacional Penitenciario] INPE, 2008.

Table 34. Paraguay’s Prison Personnel PARAGUAY

Personnel involved in Prison Control and reinsertion, alternative Surveillance Personnel measures, or other functions.

Total

686

6

Men

614

4

Women

72

-

Number of male inmates per male staff member

9

1.060

Number of female inmates per female staff member

4.7

-

Training period

Secondary

Secondary

Level of education

Secondary

Secondary

Source: Human Resources, Bureau of Penal Institutions.

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The training should be matched by good pay, to avoid job instability or high staff turnover, which would mean that the State would lose qualified, trained human resources. This, too, is an unresolved problem. For example, some 30% of Paraguay’s roughly 600 prison personnel are on contract; the remainder are appointees. In 2006, there was one staff member for every 80 inmates, when the recommended standard is one for every 15. However, based on the data provided, it appears that the situation has improved, and the ratio now stands at 1 for every 9 inmates. The most pressing problems that prison officials face are the lack of personnel, the lack of weapons and the poor condition of the weapons they have. This challenge poses a serious safety problem, both within and outside the prisons and for inmates, staff, inmates’ families and the neighboring communities. In this case, in addition to prison staff, there are also military and police personnel guarding and controlling inmates. This could be a problem because the military and police training is not always the best suited for functions of this type. By way of illustration, Table 33 shows how the staff broke down by level of training in 2006. Table 35. Staff of Paraguay’s Prison System, by Function, 2006 Staff Interior prison guards

210

Gatekeepers

19

Guards

48

Police

8

Military

20

Instructors

23

Total

328

Source: General Bureau of Penal Institutions.

Turnover is very heavy in Paraguay. While the prison administration has repeatedly tried to improve recruitment of prison personnel, it has not had success thus far. In the 2005-2009 budget, provision was made to create 483 vacancies for prison personnel: 356 were vacancies for guards; 54 were for specialized personnel; 46 for technical personnel; and 25 for administrative personnel. However, as of now some of those vacancies are still open. In all events, the number of posts increased from 1573 in 2007 to 1685 in 2008. The line item in the budget for the wages and salaries of prison personnel has substantially increased, in order to offer better salaries and thus attract more applicants. According to the 2007 Performance Evaluation Report prepared by the Special Commission to Monitor the Prison System, the recruitment problem is caused by a combination of variables, such as low pay, poor training, the excessive number of inmates in custody, the unhealthy working conditions in prisons and the difficulty taking annual leave. Another problem complicating recruitment of “quality” personnel is that no one wants to make a career out of working in a prison; instead, if one takes a prison job, it is as a last resort to avoid unemployment. To attract higher caliber personnel, decree 433 of 2007 raises the requirements that one must satisfy to apply as enlisted personnel for a position as a prison guard in the National Police. 141


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Subordinates and superiors in the Uruguayan Penitentiary Service are police officers. In 2007, there were 4.7 inmates per prison officer. Uruguay has a training school that provides basic training in public safety, as well training to work in prisons. The superiors in the DNCyCR are trained at the national police academy (starting in the second year, they can opt to specialize in prisons). The training in the academy’s other departments is purely for police work, which means that recruits who do not opt for the prison track will not receive training in prison security. Enlisted police officers receive training for 6 months before joining the prison service. Despite the sharp increase in the inmate population in El Salvador, the prison budget has increased by about 30% in that same period; the staff for custody, treatment and management of prisons is down by 8.1% in that period. According to data supplied by the General Bureau of Penal Institutions, in January 2007 the prison system had 840 security personnel. This amounts to a ratio of 18.6 inmates for every guard. In Mexico, the inmate/staff ratio is also very lopsided: according to the data provided the central administration has 1998 security personnel for an inmate population of over 200,000 nationwide. The staffing breaks down as follows: 1613 are men and 385 are women. On average, prison personnel have a high school education. In Honduras, various civil society organizations have repeatedly denounced the lack of personnel and resources for re-adaptation programs. The state’s initiatives in this area have been few and sporadic, and most permanent training or educational programs have come from the private sector or have been targeted interventions done with the cooperation of international organizations. In Guatemala, for example, the prison staff in charge of security at the facilities are the very same as those in charge of transfers and other administrative functions. In other words, the number of prison staff dedicated exclusively to security is insufficient.108 There are a total of 1,370 guards for an inmate population of 8,412, which is a ratio of one guard for every 6.14 inmates. However, if one factors in variables such as the other functions that those same guards must perform and the off-duty system, then the ratio ends up being one guard for every 33 inmates. The Prison Regime Law, decree 33-2006, makes provision for the prison career service, i.e., the basic instruction, training, professionalization, evaluation and promotion of prison staff. However, the law was passed two years ago, and has still not been implemented. Thus, the current prison staff are performing their functions without even the minimum instruction in application of prison standards and organizational procedures and with no manual or handbook to standardize procedures at all prisons. Since 2005, the training of security personnel or prisons guards has been at a military base in Guatemala’s Jutiapa department, in the eastern region of the country. At the present time, working conditions for prison staff feature poor pay, inhuman living conditions inside the prisons, a shift rotation system and job instability. These kinds of conditions invite structural corruption within the system. Compounding the problem is the fact that there are no performance evaluation systems and no personnel discipline system.

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The types of problems described above are not unique to the countries named. Indeed, low wages, little specific training, and the resulting corruption are problems in all the systems. In Venezuela, for example, the inmate/staff ratio is believed to be close to 48, a very high figure that will hurt performance. Furthermore, the percentage of prison staff who are graduates of the National University Institute of Prison Studies [Instituto Universitario Nacional de Estudios Penitenciarios] (IUNEP) is small. According to unofficial figures, estimates are that there are around 6 officials at each prison. In theory, officials working in the prisons should have post-secondary university studies and be trained at the National University Institute of Prison Studies. At the present time, few young people or others decide to pursue a career in prison work. As a result, the wardens of the various facilities have been compelled to hire personnel on contract. In most cases, these people barely have a high school education. However, what they offer is experience in security or police work, which gives them some preparation for the role of prison warders. The challenge that a professional prison administration must face is to make sure that the prisons are safe and orderly, which does not mean that prisons should be oppressive or brutal. “If the staff are not in control of a prison, the resulting vacuum will be filled by strong willed prisoners. Alternatively, if there is not firm management from the top, individual members of staff may well resort to delivering their own informal form of control.” (Coyle, 2002:69). The report that Brazil’s parliamentary commission released in June 2008 described the crisis gripping some prisons: leaders of criminal groups linked to drug trafficking, who are frequently housed together, are running the prisons in league with corrupt prison officials and staff. A case in point happened recently in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil, where prosecution of prison and judicial authorities was sought because the inmates at the medium-security detention center were sleeping with the hogs on the farm. At the prison in Pará, prosecution of a number of authorities was sought in the case of a mentally retarded minor who was incarcerated in a men’s prison and sexually abused. At another facility, the warden is being prosecuted for hiding a group of tortured prisoners from the deputies (June 24, 2008). Table 36. Staff of Brazil’s National Prison System Category

Number of Staff

Number of Inmates per Staff Member

Administrative

8486

47.3

Guards

50185

8.0

Doctors

1103

363.8

Psychologists

1008

398.1

Dentists

420

955.3

Attorneys

365

1099.3

Social Workers

1071

374.6

Instructors

143

2805.8

Therapists

81

4953.5

Psychiatrists

211

1901.6

Other

16282

24,6

Source: National Department of Prisons, InfoPen 2007.

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In Colombia, a problem involving staff of the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute (INPEC) happened when computers disappeared that had belonged to former paramilitary extradited to the United States for their ties to drug trafficking. According to the president, part of the solution is a reform where middle-level staff can be freely removed. The loss of the computers was important because of the information they supposedly contained (May 29, 2008). But INPEC staff have also complained that the office of the director has imposed a kind of “alternative regime” where the prisons look more like recreation centers than prisons. They also claimed that bad management is behind the murders and escapes and that the director’s office handed out favors to inmates. Their assertion was that any corruption was not within the ranks of the guards (May 22, 2008). The two most important groups in any prison are the inmates and the staff and the key to good administration is maintaining a good relationship between the two. Prison work is risky business and many staff may not have the sense that they are performing a valuable public service (Coyle, 2002). This is why solid training in ethics and specific instruction in the treatment of prisoners are so essential. Thoughts from the First Meso-American Congress of Prison Systems Col. Gilbert Henríquez Cáceres Secretary Pro Tempore CODISIPE Director General of Penal Institutions of El Salvador When we began to plan the First Meso-American Congress, our premise was that joint solutions were needed to problems that all the prisons systems in our countries were experiencing. This was a pressing issue at that time in El Salvador and, based on our experience, we believed that the time had come to bring Central American experts together to work on comprehensive solutions to the problem of gangs in prisons in Meso-America. The original idea was that the Congress would enable the professionals in charge of enforcing comprehensive prison treatment with gang members to share experiences with a view to standardizing profiles, strengthening treatment programs, facilitating social re-entry and preventing new members from joining gangs, all as a way to reduce juvenile delinquency and violence inside prisons and thus promote peace. As we continued to plan for the Congress, it became apparent that no comprehensive solution would come from a gang-centered approach; instead, we had to think of the inmate population as a whole; indeed, we had to assume that an inmate population was part of a much larger set of problems that needed to be examined. At a 2005 meeting of directors of prison systems and sentence enforcement judges from 19 Latin American countries, sponsored by ILANUD in Costa Rica, the participants boiled down the major problems in prison systems to the following: 1. A lack of policies (comprehensive, criminological, human rights, penitentiary, gender-related and criminal justice). 2. Overcrowding, caused by small budgets and inadequate infrastructure. 3. The substandard quality of life in prisons. 4. Insufficient prison staff, who are not properly trained. 5. A lack of training and job programs for inmates.

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Later, ILANUD put together statistics illustrating the overcrowding problem and the pressure being exerted by the increase in the inmate population. LATIN AMERICA: OVERCROWDING IN PRISONS109 Costa Rica (2002)(2005) Dominican Republic (1999) (2005) El Salvador (2002)(2005) Guatemala (1999)(2006) Honduras (1999)(2005) Mexico (2000)(2005) Nicaragua (2002)(2005) Panama (2002)(2005)

1999-2002 INMATES

DENSITY

2005-2006 INMATES

6,613

DENSITY 99

11,416

256

12,708

138

10,278

167

12,581

162

8,169

113

10,938

209

11,691

141

151,662

126

204,130

128

5,555

104

5,672

104

9,607

137

11,617

161

Having examined these problems and working from the basic premise that the purpose of prison systems is to provide safe and secure areas where persons deprived of liberty can be held and to create the conditions in which specialized treatment programs can be implemented to enable inmates to be readapted and re-socialized, the goal being social co-existence in strict compliance with the law, the decision was that the main objective of the First Meso-American Congress on Prison Systems should be to promote institutionalism within the region. The substantive agreements reached at this event, as spelled out in the Declaration of San Salvador, which the participating directors general and representatives of the prison systems in Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic signed in October in 2007, are as follows: 1. To confirm the commitment to working to ensure that persons deprived of their liberty have access to special treatment programs that help them to re-adapt and re-socialize. 2. To learn from the progress that the directors of prison systems in Central America made on the issue of institutionalization. 3. To establish the Commission of Directors of Prison Systems of Meso-America and the Dominican Republic, basically to strengthen the institutions of the prison system in the region. 4. To promote the creation of the Network of Prison Specialists in Meso-America and the Dominican Republic to share experiences and best practices that will enhance the technical and professional quality of the approach taken to the inmate population. The approach will be presented to the Commission for approval. 5. To create an Office of the Secretary Pro Tempore to monitor and follow up on agreements adopted by the Commission of Directors of Prison Systems of Meso-America and the Dominican Republic, the first of which will be El Salvador. From our perspective as Secretary Pro Tempore, the first Meso-American Congress of Prison Systems was an exercise in negotiating and agreeing upon prison policies, situations and experiences. This was done through the lectures and papers presented to the participants, an exercise that has served to promote institutionalism in the region and has triggered discussion on our countries’ major problems.

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We are aware that the Commission of Directors of Prison Systems and the Network of Specialists in Prison Intervention called for in the Declaration of San Salvador have not been formally established. We are certain, however, that we will soon have a proposal for their organization and operation. In the meantime, at the Office of the Secretary Pro Tempore, we have created and maintained a regional virtual communication line by establishing an e-mail address codisipe@gmail.com, which allows us to stay in contact with one another and share news and prison-related issues of interest. Using the contributions received from the participants in the First Meso-American Congress on Prison Systems, the Office of the Secretary Pro Tempore has developed a list of medium- and longterm measures to strengthen institutionalism in the region and modernize national prison systems, while observing the sovereignty of each state and its rule of law: 1. Strengthening national prison policies, configured as an integral approach geared to preventing crime through productive social rehabilitation and reinsertion of persons deprived of liberty. 2. Modernization of prison infrastructures and an easing of prison overcrowding and density. 3. Special diagnostic study and research on issues related to prison affairs such as criminology, prison psychology and sociology, the consumption of psychoactive substances and narcotic drugs, drug use and the commission of crimes, psychosocial factors of risk-protection, and others. 4. Basic and specialized training of prison personnel on the subject of intervention with persons deprived of liberty, education in a context of incarceration, treatment with the emphasis on rehabilitation and productive social reinsertion, administration and management of prison resources. 5. Basic training and specialized instruction for prison personnel in procedures to ensure the security of individuals and facilities, managing prison risks, and the situational response schemes to address prison incidents. 6. Development and implementation of information technologies and applications to supplement prison management and security procedures. 7. Promote the development of virtual teaching methods and classroom educational opportunities that provide executive staff of prison systems in Meso-America and the Dominican Republic with training and specialized instruction. 8. Foster the creation and development of the Prison Career Service for the executive, technical, administrative, treatment, custodial and security personnel. Equally important in fully developing prisons systems are the communication, collaboration and cooperation with international organizations, friendly governments and helpful agencies by sharing experiences and best practices, concluding agreements, and conducting programs and projects. As Secretary Pro Tempore, I would like to make particular mention of our close ties with the European Union’s PROJOVENES Program and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), from which we received financial support for the Congress, as well as technical contributions that guided and enriched the discussions on the issues and the approach to them. We are certain that by putting these measures into practice, our national prison systems will be modernized and staffed with specially trained, empowered and efficient personnel, with the space and the programs that will be instrumental in preventing crime and preparing our inmates to re-enter society as productive citizens. We hope that our citizens will view our work in a better light and end the public’s stigmatization of prisons and of the people who, for one reason or another, spend time there.

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Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

7. Conclusions and recommendations The prison systems in Latin America and the Caribbean are in a profound crisis. In most cases, it is virtually impossible to entertain the hope that inmates will one day be living in acceptable conditions in prison. The obvious deterioration of our prisons is not just the fault of prison authorities; instead, it is a function of the low priority attached to this issue in the public policies that our states pursue. In almost every country of the hemisphere, prison problems are invisible to the public eye, mainly because our citizenry –and therefore our policies- have focused more on punishing those who commit crime than on rehabilitating them. Where policies on crime are concerned, many factors and combinations of factors have conspired to cause this crisis. The increase in the inmate population is directly related to crime prevention policies that have not proved to be as successful as had been hoped. With such pronounced inequality, lack of opportunity, increased drug use, and other social problems, crime looms as the best option for survival. The overpopulated prisons, housing many people who have never been convicted, speak volumes about the quality of the judicial system. In many cases, the proceedings are slow and the investigation is riddled with problems: this and other factors lead to an abuse of preventive detention. The result is overcrowded prisons and even police lockups, with very little attention paid to the conditions in which detainees are held. The collapse of the judicial systems in many countries of the region has dangerously weakened the prison system; in some cases it has caused a total collapse of the prison system. The drama that unfolds every day in the prisons of this hemisphere can be illustrated by the fact that in most prisons, it is virtually impossible to segregate convicted inmates from inmates awaiting trial; first-time offenders from repeat offenders; and inmates who committed minor offenses from those who committed the more serious crimes. With matters as they are, the so-called criminal contagion becomes an inevitable and undeniable fact of life. The overpopulation of prisons also makes them unsanitary and unhealthy places, a situation made all the worse in the older facilities that lack proper ventilation or plumbing. Many of the prisons are old, built to different standards of security and for another type of inmate. Many such prisons have deteriorated as a result of the construction materials’ fatigue and by the damage that the inmates have caused. Over time, these inmates have pillaged the facilities to get the materials they need to make the weapons they use in internal fights. All this creates a prison environment in which the incarceration conditions needed for the inmate to recover can never be achieved. In general, these prisons are places in which the inmates’ physical and mental condition will only get worse. Governments that are toughening up sentences and finding more reasons to incarcerate people are making intensive use of prisons. Even so, in budgetary terms they are not a priority on governmental agendas. This is in evidence even when conditions have gotten so bad that decisions are made to remodel old prisons or build new ones. However, the objective of improving prisons conditions is never accomplished, because the policies on crime become more and more punitive and thus hasten overcrowding even at the new facilities. Furthermore, the prison administrations continue to earmark very small percentages of their budgets for reinsertion programs or supplies like food, bedding, articles of personal hygiene, medications, and health care.

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These conditions become breeding grounds for more conflict, violence and criminal activities by inmates. All too often, prisons officials and staff are passive observers to the violence and crime, or use brute force to suppress it, which is understandable from the standpoint of the risk to the security of the prison and to their own lives, especially when dealing with very dangerous criminals. To avoid these extreme situations, the prison infrastructure must be improved and the number and caliber of staff enhanced. At the present time, most prison staff have very little in the way of specialized training for prison work; and in some cases they are grossly outnumbered by the inmates in their charge. If incarceration is to achieve its purpose in the best way possible and consistent with the laws and international principles of human rights, the governments need to undertake efforts in the following areas: Information: the lack of organized information on inmate populations is a constant; the data either do not exist or are scattered in a variety of places, with the result that not all prison authorities have a complete picture of their own prison population. That information is vital for the prison administrations to be able to improve the actions they take and to develop policies that are responsive to real problems. The collection, organization and publication of data on inmates are also important to the transparency of an institution that is hardly accessible and almost invisible to society. Investing resources makes it possible to build new prisons, which seems to be the preferred measure for many governments; but investing resources can also be a means to modernize old facilities to bring them in line with modern standards of security and safety and to provide proper ventilation, lighting and sanitation. Improvements to infrastructure not only make the facility a decent place for inmates but also improve the working conditions of staff and the mental health of the inmates. Alternatives to incarceration: under the right circumstances, alternatives to incarceration are a way to reduce the number of inmates in preventive detention and thus free up space in prisons and protect first time offenders or those who have committed lesser crimes from being contaminated by those elements who are guilty of more serious offenses and members of gangs or organized crime. This will also require that more staff be assigned to these functions, in order to properly monitor the conduct of the inmates. Training of staff: some prison systems are in urgent need of more staff, because the current staff’s numerical inferiority places them and the prisons in danger. At the same time, measures have to be taken to improve the training of those who work in prisons, in specific areas where a solid ethical fiber is needed to resist corruption and abuse. The training should be for prison guards and for those who work in the psycho-social and legal areas. Both types of staff must strive to complement each other’s work.

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Proper security measures will help prevent episodes of violence between inmates wielding sharp weapons made from materials that they strip from the prison itself. They will also help prevent suicides. Adequate security measures must be provided to protect women, as they are a less aggressive inmate population. Special circumstances: for inmates who must have their children in the prison with them, those children will have to be provided proper health care and a proper diet. The same is true of pregnant women. As for special measures, some consideration should be given to the needs of foreign inmates, who will require translation services and a way of communicating with family. Civilian leadership: with a strong political will, the prison system can become part of the national agenda, so that it receives the resources it needs to correct weaknesses in the system, as well as infrastructure, health care, the lack of education and job programs for inmates, the number of staff and their training. The type of leadership needed is one that views prison as a last resort and not the solution to all problems related to crime and criminal behavior.

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Bibliografía


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

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Downloaded from: http://directorio.cdhdf.org.mx/libros/violenciacontramujer/violenciamujeres. pdf#page=130 COFADEH (2006). Situación del Sistema Penitenciario en Honduras. Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH), Honduras, Tegucigalpa. Comisionado Parlamentario, Poder Legislativo de la República Oriental del Uruguay. (2007). Informe de actuación y Evaluación del Sistema Penitenciario Nacional. Coyle, A. (2002a). A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management. Handbook for Prison Staff. London: International Centre for Prison Studies. Coyle, A. (2002b). Managing prisons in a time of change. London: International Centre for Prison Studies. Coyle, A. (s/f). How statistical information can assist in the development of appropriate policies in prisons. Dammert, L. and Díaz, J. ¿Es la cárcel una solución para la delincuencia? FLACSO-Chile: Programa seguridad y ciudadanía, Boletín 1, May 2005. Dammert, L. and Díaz, J. El costo de encarcelar. FLACSO-Chile: Programa seguridad y ciudadanía, Boletín 5, November 2005. Dammert, L. and Díaz, J. Cárceles privadas, ¿modelos de gestión penitenciaria o inversión inmobiliaria? FLACSO-Chile: Programa seguridad y ciudadanía, Boletín 5, September 2005. Defensoría del Pueblo, Colombia (2003, diciembre). Situación del servicio de salud en las cárceles de Colombia. Downloaded on July 14, 2008, at: http://www.defensoria.org.co/pdf/informes/informe_105.pdf Elbert, C. (1998). Manual básico de criminología. Buenos Aires: Eudeba. Escobar, J. and González, B. (2006). Complejos penitenciarios: discursos de los internos respecto del cambio. In Tercer Simposio Nacional de Investigación sobre violencia y delincuencia. Fundación Paz Ciudadana, Instituto de Sociología de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Espinosa, Olga. (2003). Las reclusas en brasil, una aproximación. In Violencia contra las mujeres privadas de libertad en América Latina. Mexico: Comisión de derechos humanos del Distrito Federal, Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y promoción de los derechos humanos, Fundación para el debido proceso legal. Downloaded from: http://directorio.cdhdf.org.mx/libros/violenciacontramujer/violenciamujeres.pdf#page=130

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Hidalgo, J. and López, A. 1997). El sistema penitenciario en Ecuador. San José, Costa Rica: ILANUD. ICPS. (2004). Guidance Notes 4. Dealing with prison overcrowding. . International Centre for Prison Studies (ICPS), Kings College, University of London. ICPS. (2004). Guidance Notes 10. Improving prison health care. International Centre for Prison Studies (ICPS), Kings College, University of London. ICPS. (2004). Guidance Notes 13. Reforming women’s prisons. International Centre for Prison Studies (ICPS), Kings College, University of London. ICPS. (2008). Penal reform and gender. Gender and Security Sector Reform Toolkit. Bastick, Megan and Valasek, Kristin (eds.). Geneva: DCAF, OSCE/ODHIR, UN-INSTRAW. Downloaded from: http://www.un-instraw.org/es/gps/security-toolkit/penal-reform-and-gender-3.html International Human Rights Clinic, Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School, Harvard University. (2007). Security in Paraguay:Analysis and Responses in Comparative Perspective. Kessler, Gabriel. (2005). Diagnóstico de la Seguridad Ciudadana. Mimeo. Kliksberg, Bernardo. (2008). ¿Cómo enfrentar la inseguridad en América Latina? La falacia de la mano dura. Nueva Sociedad, 215, May-June. Lopes Lima Naves, T. Solidariedade, comunidade e execução penal: será possível? Downloaded from: www.derechopenalonline.com Lorat, M. and Fernández, J. Superpoblación carcelaria: una perspectiva desde la presunción de inocencia. Downloaded from: www.derechopenalonline.com Mathiesen, Thomas. (2003). Juicio a la prisión. Buenos Aires: EDIAR. Mendoza de Acha, A. (2006). Evaluación de los Centros Penitenciarios del País. Paraguay: [s/n]. Mobekk, Eirin. Transitional justice and security sector reform. Occasional Paper No. 13, Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF). Downloaded on April 25, 2008, at: http://www.dcaf.ch/publications/kms/details.cfm?lng=en&id=26122&nav1=4 Mujeres Privadas de Libertad en Uruguay. Informe sobre las condiciones de reclusión. 2006 Niedda Alvarado, G. (2006). Reporte sobre la situación carcelaria en Panamá. Panamá: Centro de Investigación de Derechos Humanos y Socorro Jurídico (CIDHS).

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Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones. (2007). Situación de los Derechos Humanos y Procesales de las Personas Privadas de Libertad en Venezuela. Downloaded from: http://www.ovprisiones. org/pdf/informe_2007.pdf Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones (2008). Informe Primer Semestre 2008. Downloaded from: http://www.ovprisiones.org/pdf/1er_semestre_08.pdf OECD, DAC. (2007). Handbook on Security System Reform, Supporting Security and Justice. Ordoñez, Laura. (2006). Mujeres encarceladas: proceso de encarcelamiento en la penitenciaria femenina de Brasilia. Universitas Humanística, January-June, Number 061, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia, pp.183-199. Downloaded on July 24, 2008, at:http://redalyc. uaemex.mx/redalyc/pdf/791/79106108.pdf Petrone, Daniel (2004). Cárceles sanas y limpias: hacia un nuevo régimen penitenciario. Buenos Aires: Unidos por la Justicia. Pontón, Jenny. (2006). Mujeres que cruzaron la línea: vida cotidiana en el encierro. Quito, FLACSO Ecuador, Programa de Estudios de la Ciudad. Downloaded on July 24, 2008, at: http://www.flacso.org.ec/docs/mujerescruzaron_jponton.pdf UNDP (2006). National Human Development Report 2005. Honduras: United Nations Development Programme. PROVEA (2006). Informe anual. Derecho de las personas privadas de libertad, October 2005September 2006, pp.315-330. Downloaded from: http://www.derechos.org.ve/publicaciones/infanual/2005_06/pdf/privadaslibertad.pdf] Ramos, Patricia. (2003). Diagnóstico de la situación de las mujeres encarceladas en Colombia. In Violencia contra las mujeres privadas de libertad en América Latina. Mexico: Comisión de derechos humanos del Distrito Federal, Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y promoción de los derechos humanos, Fundación para el debido proceso legal. Downloaded on July 24, 2008, at: http://directorio.cdhdf.org.mx/libros/violenciacontramujer/violenciamujeres.pdf#page=130 Suxo, Nardy. (2003). Los derechos de las mujeres privadas de libertad en Bolivia. In Violencia contra las mujeres privadas de libertad en América Latina. Mexico: Comisión de derechos humanos del Distrito Federal, Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y promoción de los derechos humanos, Fundación para el debido proceso legal. Downloaded on July 24, 2008, at: http://directorio.cdhdf.org.mx/libros/violenciacontramujer/violenciamujeres.pdf#page=130 Ungar, Mark. (2003). Prisons and politics in contemporary Latin America. Human Rights Quarterly. Noviembre, 2003, 25, 4, p. 909.

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Vázquez, M. (2007). Violencia intramural: su impacto en los derechos humanos de las personas en situación de encierro. In: Isla, Alejandro.(comp.) En los márgenes de la ley. Inseguridad y violencia en el Cono Sur. Buenos Aires: Paidos. Wacquant, Loïc. (2000). Las cárceles de la miseria. Buenos Aires: Manantial. Wood, Phillip.(2007). Globalization and prison privatization. Why are most of the world’s forprofit adult prisons to be found in the American South? International Political Sociology,1. News reports: Abogada especialista denuncia el sistema carcelario argentino. (June 3, 2008).Agencia Pulsar. Argentina. Downloaded from: http://www.agenciapulsar.org/imprimir.php?id=12889 Alfabetización, capacitación y cooperativas en las cárceles del país. (July 24, 2008). Agencia Bolivariana de noticias. Venezuela, downloaded from: http://www.aporrea.org/actualidad/ n8485.html Blancos proponen albergar presos en unidades militares. (May 29, 2008). Espectador. Uruguay, downloaded from: http://www.espectador.com/1v4_contenido_print.php?id=123064 Buscan combatir “justicia por mano propia” en cárceles. (May 20, 2008). Observa. Uruguay, downloaded from: http://www.observa.com.uy/Osecciones/actualidad/notav1. aspx?id=106769 Buscando la llave de los traslados. (July 6, 2008). Página 12. Argentina, downloaded from: http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/suplementos/rosario/10-14240-2008-07-06.html Cárceles: la emergencia cumple un año y el hacinamiento sigue. (June 16, 2008). El Comercio. Ecuador. Downloaded from: http://www.elcomercio.com/noticiaEC.asp?id_ noticia=196952&id_seccion=4 Cárceles juveniles colapsadas limitan planes rehabilitadores. (June 23, 2008). El Mercurio. Chiles es el segundo país de Sudamérica con mayor tasa de presos por habitantes. (April 25, 2008). La Tercera, p.12. Conflicto carcelario por tierra y salud. (June 17, 2008). Los Tiempos. Cochabamba, Bolivia, downloaded from: http://www.lostiempos.com/noticias/17-06-08/17_06_08_loc6.php Consenso en retirar cárceles de Ministerio del Interior. (May 30, 2008). Uruguay al día. Downloaded from: http://www.uruguayaldia.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view &id=4373


FLACSO - Chile

Crece huelga en penales, exigen obras y salud. (June 19, 2008). Los Tiempos. Cochabamba. Bolivia, downloaded from: http://www.lostiempos.com/noticias/19-06-08/local.php Construyendo la sociedad que queremos. (July 23, 2008). El Liberal. Colombia, downloaded from: http://www.elliberal.com.co/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9166&Itemi d=86 Cotelo, E. (June 3, 2008). Larrañaga: “estamos ante una situación carcelaria explosiva”. Espectador. Uruguay, downloaded from: http://www.espectador.com/1v4_contenido_print. php?id=124087 Daisy Tourné no quiere cárceles en los cuarteles. (June 13, 2008). El País. Uruguay, downloaded from: http://www.elpais.com.uy/Paginas/ImprimirNota3.asp?i=349519 Deporte Penitenciario: inclusión y reivindicación con la sociedad (2008,1de enero). Nueva Prensa de Oriente. Venezuela, downloaded from: http://nuevaprensa.info/content/view/5318/2/ Descongestión carcelaria y vigilancia electrónica para reclusos, anuncia MinInterior. (July 7, 2008). Noticias, Presidencia de la República, Colombia, downloaded from: http://web. presidencia.gov.co/sp/2008/julio/07/01072008_i.html Descongestión carcelaria y vigilancia electrónica para reclusos, anunció el Ministro del Interior. (July 7, 2008). Press Perú. Downloaded from: http://www.pressperu.com/index.php?option=com_ content&task=view&id=8033&Itemid=66 Dice Luisa Estella Morales: es necesario un cambio en sistema penitenciario. (July 17, 2008). El Tiempo. Venezuela, downloaded from: http://www.diarioeltiempo.com.ve/secciones/secciones. php?num=12026&anon=n2008&codigo=nnac&llve=dos Durán, M. (June 23, 2008). Cabecillas del motín de 2005 se rebelaron ayer en Coger. La Voz. Argentina, downloaded from: http://www2.lavoz.com.ar/herramientas/imprimir_nota. asp?nota_id=214869 Estado venezolano reimpulsará políticas en torno al sistema carcelario. (June 11, 2008). Agencia Bolivariana de noticias. Venezuela, downloaded from: http://www.abn.info.ve/go_news5.php?articulo=136645&lee=18 El Carabobeño (July 7, 2008). Noticia sin título, downloaded from: http://www.el-carabobeno. com/p_pag_not.aspx?art=a050708f05&id=t050708-f05 Ferreria, E. (June 22, 2008). Perverso sistema carcelario trunca reinserción. ABC digital. Paraguay, downloaded from: http://www.abc.com.py/articulos.php?pid=426390&fec=2008-06-22

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Finalmente, en la cárcel de Coronda tomaron medidas ante las denuncias de la coordinadora carcelaria. (June 11, 2008). Data Santa Fe. Argentina, downloaded from: http://www. datasantafeonline.com/noticia.php?noticia_id=9114 Funcionarios del SENAME denuncias ocultamiento tras intoxicación. (July 2, 2008). Teletrece internet, downloaded from: http://teletrece.canal13.cl/t13/html/Noticias/Regiones/Regiones/ 345943Iiimprimirq1.html Garcé apoya relocalización de presos. (June 3, 2008). Observa. Uruguay, downloaded from: http://www.observa.com.uy/Obuscar/notaarchivo.aspx?id=108150 Gobierno analiza reestructura carcelaria. (May 29, 2008).Observa. Uruguay, downloaded from: http://www.observa.com.uy/Obuscar/notaarchivo.aspx?id=107676 Gobierno busca alternativas para solucionar el hacinamiento carcelario. (July 23, 2008). Presidencia de la República de Colombia, downloaded from: http://web.presidencia.gov.co/ sp/2008/julio/23/14232008_i.html Gobierno coordinará esfuerzos para renovar sistema carcelario. (June 11, 2008). Unión Radio. Venezuela, downloaded from: http://www.unionradio.com.ve/Noticias/Noticia. aspx?noticiaid=244371 Hacinamiento, baños y drogas motivaron huelga de presos. (July 4, 2008). La Crónica del Quindío. Armenia Quindio, Colombia, downloaded from: http://cronicadelquindio.com/index. php?module=Pagesetter&func=viewpub&tid=3&pid=42263 Hemos tratado de dialogar con el Ministro para el problema carcelario en Yaracuy. (July 16, 2008). El Diario de Yaracuy. Venezuela, downloaded from: http://www.eldiariodeyaracuy. com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=18584:hemos-tratado-de-dialogar-conel-ministro-para-el-problema-carcelario-en-yaracuy&catid=45:politica&Itemid=66 Incrementarán visitas de fiscales a los penales del país. (June 11, 2008). El Universal. Venezuela. Informe parlamentario desvela el “infierno” de las cárceles en Brasil. (June 24, 2008). Terra noticias. downloaded from: http://www.terra.com.mx/articulo.aspx?articuloId=688141 Informe retrata infierno en cárceles de Brasil. (June 24, 2008). Houston Chronicle. Downloaded from: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sp/nws/5853992.html INPEC admite fallas en atención de salud a los internos. (July 15, 2008). Caracol Radio. Colombia, downloaded from: http://www.caracol.com.co/nota.aspx?id=632550

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Larrañaga: “El Ejecutivo no puede desaprovechar esta propuesta del Partido Nacional”. (May 29, 2008). El País. Uruguay, downloaded from: http://www.elpais.com.uy/08/05/29/ultmo_ 349131.asp La salud en las cárceles. (June 23, 2008). El Tiempo. (editorial). Colombia, downloaded from: http://www.eltiempo.com/opinion/forolectores/2008-06-24/la-salud-en-las-carceles_ 4343525-1 Miles de presos en el último año. (July 25, 2008). Contrapunto, edición 72. El Salvador, downloaded from: http://contrapunto.com.sv/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id= 786&Itemid=124&ed=32 Militares colombianos ocupan cárcel de máxima seguridad. (July 10, 2008). Prensa Latina. Bogotá, downloaded from: http://www.prensalatina.com.mx/article.asp?ID=%7B27A20D36EBB0-4B03-A417-09F78784FEFF%7D&language=ES Ministerio Público supervisa situación de autosecuestrados en cárcel de Vista Hermosa en el Estado Bolívar. (July 1, 2008). Unión radio. Venezuela, http://www.unionradio.com.ve/Noticias/ Noticia.aspx?noticiaid=246416 Miranda, D. (June 10, 2008). Un muerto y cuatro heridos por motín en cárcel de Sabaneta. El Universal. Venezuela, downloaded from: http://www.eluniversal.com/2008/06/10/sucgc_art_ un-muerto-y-cuatro-h_898849.shtml Muere recluso en intento de fuga. (June 19, 2008). El Nuevo diario. Dominican Republic, downloaded from: http://www2.elnuevodiario.com.do/app/article.aspx?id=107350 Nuevas cárceles terminarían hacinamiento de reclusos. (July 10, 2008). La Crónica del Quindío. Colombia, downloaded from: http://www.cronicadelquindio.com/index.php?module=Pagesett er&func=viewpub&tid=3&pid=42407 Orquesta Sinfónica Penitenciaria efectuará primer concierto nacional. Agencia Bolivariana. (April 28, 2008). Agencia Bolivariana de noticias. Venezuela, downloaded from: http://www.aporrea.org/actualidad/n113218.html Pagaron sus condenas, pero siguen en la cárcel. (June 16, 2008). El País. Uruguay, downloaded from: http://www.elpais.com.co/paisonline/notas/Junio102008/nal8.html Perverso sistema penitenciario trunca reinserción. (June 22, 2008). ABC digital. Asunción, Paraguay. Downloaded from: http://www.abc.com.py/articulos.php?fec=2008-06-22&pid=42 6390&sec=6&ABCDIGITAL=c104d9af4df7a8189247f8469548b2c9 Piden exonerar a procesados por la masacre de Coronda (July 3, 2008). La Capital. Argentina, downloaded from: http://www.lacapital.com.ar/contenidos/2008/07/02/noticia_5390.html

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Piñera, L. (June 9, 2008). Registran motín en cárcel de Sabaneta. El Universal. Venezuela, downloaded from: http://deportes.eluniversal.com/2008/06/09/suc_ava_registran-motin-enc_09A1657199.shtml Plan carcelario beneficiará los derechos del reo. (May 29, 2008). Telégrafo. Ecuador, downloaded from: http://www.telegrafo.com.ec/temadeldia/noticia/archive/temadeldia/2008/05/29/ Plancarcelario-beneficiar_E100_-los-derechos-del-reo.aspx Población Penitenciaria se integra a la práctica deportiva. (July 15, 2008). Agencia Bolivariana de noticias. Venezuela, downloaded from: http://www.rnv.gov.ve/noticias/index.php?act=ST&f =27&t=73581&hl=penitenciaria&s=6bf89e91dfb658b2222dd570d9d8046d] Preocupación en el sindicato por intento de fuga. (May 28, 2008). El País. Uruguay, downloaded from: http://www.elpais.com.uy/Paginas/ImprimirNota3.asp?i=348541 Preocupación por traslado de presos al Agudo Ávila. (July 30, 2008). Rosario 3. Argentina, downloaded from: http://www.rosario3.com/imprimir,aspx?idNot=34525 Presos denuncian oscuro incidente en Coronda. (July 5, 2008). La Capital. Argentina, downloaded from: http://www.lacapital.com.ar/contenidos/2008/07/05/noticia_5301.html Presos mantienen control de El Rodeo I en demanda de beneficios procesales. (July 17, 2008). 2001. Venezuela, downloaded from: http://www.2001.com.ve/noticias_2001online. asp?registro=94211 Programa demolerá “infiernillo” carcelario. (June 27, 2008). Telégrafo. Ecuador, http://www. telegrafo.com.ec/policiales/noticia/archive/policiales/2008/06/27/Programademoler_E100__1C20_infiernillo_1D20_-carcelario.aspx Proponen transformar en cárceles unidades militares. (May 30, 2008). El País. Uruguay, downloaded from: http://www.elpais.com.uy/08/05/30/pnacio_349203.asp Reclusos de Yare tienen 48 horas en huelga de hambre. (June 11, 2008). Unión Radio. Venezuela, downloaded from: http://www.unionradio.com.ve/Noticias/Noticia.aspx?noticiaid=244393 Requisa en penal de Sabaneta en Zulia dejó al menos dos reclusos heridos. (June 9, 2008). Globovisión. Downloaded from: http://globovision.com/news.php?nid=89718 Rivera, J. (May 22, 2008). Censo en el Centro de Rehabilitación de Lacatunga. La Gaceta . Ecuador, downloaded from: http://www.lagaceta.com.ec/site/html/pagina.php?sc_id=1&c_ id=68&pg_id=38620

161


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Salazar, P. (July 5, 2008). Gendarmes se acuartelarán en las afueras de la ex Penitenciaría. La Tercera. Santiago, Chile, downloaded from: http://www.latercera.cl/contenido/25_27677_ 9.shtml Sánchez, J. (July 21, 2008). Impostergable mejorar sistema carcelario, dice Delgado Diamante. Critica en línea. Panamá, downloaded from: http://www.critica.com.pa/archivo/07212008/ cie02.html Se agravan los niveles de hacinamiento y las nuevas cárceles siguen sin terminarse, advierte contralor. (June 9, 2008). La FM. Colombia, downloaded from: http://www.lafm.com.co/noticia. php3?nt=36088 “Seguiremos insistiendo hasta que saneen las nefastas condiciones sanitarias en las que nos encontramos” (July 11, 2008). Data Santa Fe. Argentina, downloaded from: http://www. datasantafeonline.com/noticia.php?noticia_d=9241 Será cerrado el pabellón Psiquiátrico de Coronda. (July 20, 2008). El Litoral. Argentina, downloaded from: http://www.ellitoral.com/index.php/diarios/2008/07/20/politica/POLI04.html Sindicato del INPEC en Itaguí responsabiliza al general Morales. (May 22, 2008). Radio Caracol Colombia, downloaded from: http://www.caracol.com.co/nota.aspx?id=600897 Suman 19.502 reos en penales de todo el país. (June 26, 2008). El Diario de Hoy. El Salvador, downloaded from: http://www.elsalvador.com/mwedh/nota/innerHTMLprint.asp Trato discriminatorio en las cárceles colombianas denuncia la Contraloría General. (June 9, 2008). Radio Caracol. Colombia, downloaded from: http://www.caracol.com.co/nota_imp. aspx?id=611246 Uribe reformará sistema carcelario. Controversia por robo de computadores. (May 29, 2008). Univisión. Downloaded from: http://www.univision.com/content/content.jhtml;jsessionid=RUBH 2I3PH2LXMCWIAA4CFFIKZAAD0IWC?cid=1550051 Vicenteño, D. (July 15, 2008). Las 10 prisiones capitalinas, casi al doble de su capacidad. Excélsior. Mexico, downloaded from: http://www.exonline.com.mx/diario/noticia/comunidad/ pulsocapitalino/las_10_prisiones_capitalinas,_casi_al_doble_de_su_capacidad/285792 Zambrano, L. (July 8, 2008). Procurador general niega desorden y torturas en cárceles dominicanas. Clave digital. Dominican Republic, downloaded from: http://www.clavedigital. com.do/App_Pages/Noticias/Noticias.aspx?Id_Articulo=20936

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OfďŹ cial web sites and sites for statistics Argentina (federal system) http://www.spf.gov.ar/FramePPal/estadisticas.htm http://www.jus.gov.ar/ministerio/asuntos_penitenciarios.shtml Brazil http://www.mj.gov.br/data/Pages/MJD574E9CEITEMIDC37B2AE94C6840068B1624D28407 509CPTBRIE.htm Bolivia http://www.mingobierno.gov.bo/estructura.htm Chile http://www.gendarmeria.cl/index.htm Colombia http://www.inpec.gov.co/portal/page/portal/INPEC_DISENIO/SeccionNoticiasyNormativida d/Pagina%20-%20Estad%EDsticas http://www.inpec.gov.co/portal/page/portal/INPEC_DISENIO Ecuador http://www.dnrs.gov.ec/ http://www.dnrs.gov.ec/estadisticas.html Dominican Republic http://www.procuraduria.gov.do/PGR.NET/Dependencias/Prision/Estadisticas.aspx Jamaica http://www.dcsj.net/p/stats.htm Costa Rica http://www.mj.go.cr/DGAS_Estadisticas.htm Paraguay http://www.mjt.gov.py/dgip.htm Peru http://www.inpe.gob.pe/online/contenidos.php?id=415&np=0&direccion=1 http://www.inpe.gob.pe/online/ Correctional Service of Canada http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/

163


n.d

617

3505

10800

Barbados

Belize

Jamaica

Dominican Republic

10247

3282

714

n.d

1993

11704

3311

716

n.d

1994

12663

3398

630

n.d

1995

10387

3221

772

n.d

1996

11397

3378

1049

n.d

1997

13700

3269

1043

n.d

1998

14188

3489

1097

n.d

1999

n.d

3425

n.d

n.d

2000

15340

3611

903

n.d

2001

n.d

3747

n.d

850

2002

n.d

3998

1074

n.d

2003

13836

3948

n.d

n.d

2004

12887

3758

1353

n.d

2005

12725

3833

1430

n.d

2006

13500

3889

1327

997

2007

3443

5348

5476

5717

87723

3375

4428

Costa Rica

El Salvador

Guatemala

Honduras

Mexico

Nicaragua

Panama

5524

3489

92308

6014

n.d

5576

2817

1993

5783

4161

87755

7582

6436

6025

3272

1994

6108

4586

92623

8933

n.d

7013

3490

1995

7322

5267

101200

9480

6387

7996

4705

1996

7830

5141

109956

8970

n.d

9302

5424

1997

8290

6535

123032

9551

n.d

8173

6004

1998

8517

7198

139707

10869

8169

6868

6943

1999

8515

n.d

155100

n.d

n.d

7800

7575

2000

9643

n.d

165600

n.d

7146

9279

7649

2001

10423

n.d

176400

11502

n.d

n.d

8113

2002

11263

n.d

191800

n.d

8852

n.d

8407

2003

11292

n.d

193889

n.d

8480

12113

8890

2004

11636

n.d

205821

11545

8247

n.d

9053

2005

11640

6060

210140

n.d

8359

n.d

9037

2006

10978

n.d

216845

n.d

7932

18509

9211

2007

Honduras: 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); figures from 2002 and 2005, Human Development Report 2005.

Source: prepared by author, 2008. Costa Rica: the figures for all years are from the Anuario Estadístico of the National Bureau of Social Re-adaptation, 2007. El Salvador: 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2001 and 2004 figures from the World Prison Brief, International Centre for Prison Studies; 2000 and 2007 figures from the General Bureau of Penal Institutions. Guatemala: 1992, 1994, 2001 figures from the World Prison Brief, International Centre for Prison Studies; 1996 and 1999, Carranza (2001); 2003-2007 database of the Guatemalan Institute of Comparative Studies in Penal Sciences [Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales de Guatemala] Mexico: 92 to 99, Carranza (2001); Azaola 2000 to 2003 and 2004 to 2007 SSPF Nicaragua: 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001) and 2006 figure from the World Prison Brief. Panama: 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2000 to 2006 figures from the Report of Justice 2006-2007/JSCA; 2007 figure supplied by the General Bureau of the Prison System.

1992

Central America

2. Evolution of the prison population in Central America (1992-2007)

Source: prepared by author, 2008. Barbados: 2002 figure from the World Prison B; 2007 figure from the UNDP, Report on Human Development 2007. Belize: 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2001-2003 and 2006, World Prison Brief of the International Centre for Prison Studies; 2005, Report of Justice 2006-2007/JSCA, and 2007, administration of the Belize Central Prison. Jamaica: figures from the Department of Correctional Services. Dominican Republic: 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2001 and 2003 figures from the World Prison Brief of the International Centre for Prison Studies, and 2006-2007 figures from the Bureau of Prisons.

1992

Caribbean

1. Evolution of the prison population in the Caribbean (1992-2007)

FLACSO - Chile

Annex

164


21016

n.d

114377

20258

27316

7998

n.d

17350

3037

n.d

Argentina

Bolivia

Brazil

Chile

Colombia

Ecuador

Paraguay

Peru

Uruguay

Venezuela

n.d

3132

18500

n.d

8856

28550

20490

126152

n.d

21663

1993

n.d

3190

19399

n.d

9064

29308

20962

129169

n.d

23236

1994

n.d

3192

20899

n.d

9646

30304

22027

148760

n.d

25852

1995

22791

3268

22638

3427

9961

39676

23567

n.d

n.d

34228

1996

25592

3451

24297

3748

9506

42454

25137

170602

6235

34205

1997

24710

3297

26059

3794

9439

44398

26871

n.d

6867

35808

1998

23147

4012

27400

4088

8520

45064

30051

194074

8315

38604

1999

n.d

4368

27734

n.d

8029

51548

33050

232,755

8151

n.d

2000

n.d

5036

26968

n.d

7859

49302

33620

233,859

5577

n.d

2001

n.d

5036

27417

4705

8723

52936

34901

239,345

6065

44968

2002

21342

6903

28826

4965

9866

62448

36331

308304

5669

52014

2003

n.d

7139

31311

n.d

11358

68545

36374

336,358

6494

62877

2004

19758

7118

33010

6513

n.d

69365

37033

361,402

6793

n.d

2005

n.d

6638

35835

6510

n.d

60021

39417

401,236

n.d

60621

2006

n.d

7474

39684

6530

14628

63603

43602

422,590

n.d

n.d

2007

Source: prepared by author, 2008. Argentina: 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2002 to 2004, statistics from Unidos por la Justicia, and 2006 figure from Borda (2008). Bolivia: 1997 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2000 to 2005, figures from the Report of Justice 2006-2007/JSCA. Brazil: 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2000 to 2007, InfoPen 2007. Chile: the figures for all years are from the Chilean Gendarmerie, Anuario Estadístico 2007. Colombia: 1992 to 2003, figures from the Office of the Ombudsman (2004); 2004 to 2007, figures from the National Prison Institute. Ecuador: figures for all years from the National Bureau of Social Rehabilitation, in Pontón and Torres (2007). Paraguay: 1996 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2002 to 2006, figures from the Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School, Harvard University (2007); 2007 figure from the General Bureau of Penal Institutions. Peru: figures for all years are from the National Prison Institute. Uruguay: 1992 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2000 to 2006 from the Report of Justice 2006-2007/JSCA, and figure provided by the National Bureau of Prisons and Rehabilitation. Venezuela: 1996 to 1999, Carranza (2001); 2000 to 2006, General Bureau of Inmate Custody and Rehabilitation, in PROVEA

1992

South America

3. Evolution of the prison population in South America (1992-2007)

Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

165


313

142

145

Dominican Republic

Jamaica

101

59

110

101

78

176

El Salvador

Guatemala

Honduras

Mexico

Nicaragua

Panama

n.d

74

148

75

74

n.d

77

96

n.d

Bolivia

Brazil

Chile

Colombia

Ecuador

Paraguay

Peru

Uruguay

Venezuela

n.d

99

80

n.d

81

77

147

80

n.d

64

215

78

104

113

n.d

103

85

135

133

353

n.d

1993

n.d

100

83

n.d

81

78

148

81

n.d

68

221

91

97

139

66

109

96

135

149

344

n.d

1994

n.d

99

88

n.d

85

79

153

92

n.d

74

229

98

101

160

n.d

124

100

137

158

294

n.d

1995

101

101

93

70

86

102

161

n.d

n.d

97

269

111

108

166

62

138

132

128

127

351

n.d

1996

112

106

99

75

81

107

170

102

79

96

282

106

116

153

n.d

157

148

134

137

464

n.d

1997

106

100

104

74

79

110

179

n.d

85

99

292

132

127

160

n.d

136

160

128

162

450

n.d

1998

97

122

108

78

70

110

198

113

101

106

295

143

142

178

75

112

181

136

165

461

n.d

1999

58

132

108

n.d

65

124

215

133

97

n.d

289

n.d

156

n.d

n.d

124

193

132

n.d.

n.d

n.d

2000

68

152

104

n.d

63

116

216

132

65

n.d

321

n.d

164

n.d

62

145

191

138

173

360

n.d

2001

77

152

104

85

69

123

221

133

69

120

341

n.d

174

177

n.d

n.d

198

143

n.d.

n.d

294

2002

76

208

108

87

77

143

228

169

63

137

361

n.d

187

n.d

73

n.d

202

151

n.d.

408

n.d

2003

76

215

116

n.d

87

155

226

182

70

164

356

n.d

188

n.d

68

179

209

148

148

n.d

n.d

2004

75

215

121

110

n.d

154

228

193

72

n.d

360

n.d

198

167

65

n.d

209

140

n.d.

490

n.d

2005

67

200

130

108

n.d

132

240

211

n.d

156

355

n.d

200

n.d

64

n.d

205

142

132

507

n.d

2006

n.d

224

142

107

108

138

263

219

n.d

n.d

329

n.d

204

n.d

59

260

206

143

138

461

339

2007

and Statistics Database.

Source: prepared by author, 2008. Inmate population data come from a variety of sources, while the data on total inmate population are from ECLAC’s Social Indicators

63

Argentina

SOUTH AMERICA

107

Costa Rica

CENTRAL AMERICA and MEXICO

n.d

Belize

1992

Barbados

CARIBBEAN

Country

4. Evolution of the ratios of inmate population per 100 thousand inhabitants.

FLACSO - Chile

166


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

5. Prisons with the largest populations in Mexico CENTER

CAPACITY

POPULATION

Federal District

18340

35661

State of Mexico

10059

18247

Baja California

9373

18109

Jalisco

8961

15640

Sonora

6870

12850

Veracruz

11297

8231

Michoacán

7168

8155

Chihuahua

6743

7624

Tamaulipas

7360

7568

TOTAL

86171

132085

Source: prepared by author using data from the Secretariat of Federal Public Security 2007.

6. Inmate population by region, Colombia, 2008. Region

Capacity

Total population

Overpopulation

Central

19165

24837

29

West

8766

11196

28

North

7188

7640

6

East

5434

7451

37

Northwest

5010

7431

48

Viejo Caldas

8376

9054

8

Source: INPEC, June 2008

7. Inmate population by region, Peru, 2008. Regional Bureau

Inmate Population

Capacity

% Over-Population

North - Chiclayo

6584

4421

48.93%

Lima - Lima

22752

10007

127.36%

South - Arequipa

2073

1010

105.25%

Center - Huancayo

3170

1781

77.99%

East - Pucallpa

2599

1734

49.88%

Southeast - Pucallpa

2280

1750

30.29%

Northeast - San Martín

2797

1328

110.62%

Highland - Puno

998

1228

-18.73%

Source: INPE, May 2008.

167


FLACSO - Chile

8. Inmate population in Brazil, by legal status and gender, 2000-2007 Year

Men in preventive detention

Women in preventive detention

Total inmates

Total detainees unconvicted

% Detainees unconvicted

2000

77,393

3,382

232,755

80,775

34.7

2001

75,064

3,373

233,859

78,437

33.5

2002

76,699

3,536

239,345

80,235

33.5

2003

64,849

2.7

308,303

67,549

21.9

2004

78,592

8,174

336,358

86,766

25.8

2005

98.222

3.984

361.402

102.206

28.3

2006

107.968

4.17

401.236

112.138

27.9

2007

122.334

5.228

422.59

127.562

30.2

Source: National Prison Department, InfoPen, 2007.

9. Unconvicted inmate population in Paraguay, 1991-2006. Paraguay

Total inmates

Total unconvicted

% unconvicted detainees

1991

2234

2058

91

1996

3510

3360

95

1998

3900

3635

93

1999

4179

3882

92

2002

4705

3531

75

2003

4965

3756

75

2005

6513

5059

77

2006

6510

4745

72

Source: 2007.

168


Prison: problems and challenges for the Americas

10. Inmate population in Chile, by legal status, 1998-2007. Chile Detain-ees

Awaiting/ Total inmate Con-victed standing trial population

% detainees

% awaiting/ standing trial

% con-victed

1998 1887

11762

13222

26871

7.0

43.8

49.2

1999 2270

12787

14994

30051

7.6

42.6

49.9

2000 2391

13642

17017

33050

7.2

41.3

51.5

2001 2115

12891

18614

33620

6.3

38.3

55.4

2002 2094

13373

19434

34901

6.0

38.3

55.7

2003 1799

14178

20354

36331

5.0

39.0

56.0

2004 1039

12965

22370

36374

2.9

35.6

61.5

2005 1090

11739

24204

37033

2.9

31.7

65.4

2006 256

11546

27615

39417

0.6

29.3

70.1

2007 266

10484

32852

43602

0.6

24.0

75.3

Source: Gendarmerie of Chile, July 2008.

11. Inmates by jurisdiction and legal status in Mexico, 2004-2008. Total Inmates

Awaiting/Standing Trial

Convicted and Sentenced

2004

Federal 49618

State 144271

Total 80661

Federal 15527

State 65134

Total 113228

Federal 34091

State 79137

2005

51471

154350

87844

18082

69762

117977

33389

84588

2006

49217

160923

89601

18048

71553

120539

31169

89370

2007

50450

166395

92381

18496

73885

124464

31954

92510

2008 (b)*

51181

166276

89000

19952

69048

128457

31229

97228

Sources: Government Reports, Secretariat of Federal Public Security (b) * Data as of March 2008

169


FLACSO - Chile

12. Inmate population, by gender. South America Argentina

Women % (month, year of data) 5.5% (2006)

Brazil

6.2% (May 2008)

Bolivia

7%

Chile

7.4% (May 2008)

3,263

92.60%

45,232

Colombia

5,9% (June 2008)

4047

94.1

63562

Ecuador

10% (April 2008)

1760

90

15264

Paraguay

5.3 (July 2008)

339

94.70%

6026

Peru

7% (May 2008)

3012

93

40103

Uruguay

6.4% (2007)

484

Venezuela

4.8% (July 2008)

Country

Number

Men %

Number

3334

94.5

57287

26,258

93.80%

400,400

93.6

6990

1,134

95%

22,165

Central America Country

Women %

Number

Number

975

Men % 95% (June 2008 94%

Costa Rica

4.9 (June 2008)

448

El Salvador

5.8% (October 2007)

Guatemala

5.8% (June 2008)

Honduras

3.4% (Dec. 2005)

489

94.2

7923

Mexico

5.1% (2008)

Nicaragua

7.1% (Nov. 2006)

11,133

94.9

208,883

Panama

6.7 % (June 2008)

734

93.3% (2008)

10,244

Country

Women %

Number

Men %

Number

Belize

0.6% (June 2008)

38

97.10%

1289

Barbados

4.7% (July 2007)

Dominican Republic

3.7% (2008)

Jamaica

5.2% (Oct. 2007)

8626 15.594

Caribbean

642

96.2

16573

Source: prepared by author, 2008, using information supplied by the respective prison administrations between June and July 2008, except for Bolivia and Nicaragua, whose data are from the World Prison Brief of the International Centre for Prison Studies.

13. Ailing inmate population, 2008. Country

STD

Mental disorders

Others

Total

Belize

54

47

33

134

Chile

152

34

1267

1453

Costa Rica

38

5

1164

1207

Mexico

506

3,746

12,690

16942

Panama

277

33

1,782

2092

Paraguay

12

39

117

168

Source: data supplied by the respective prison administrations.

170


Prisons: problems and challenges for the Americas  

This report depicts the reality of penitentiary systems in Latin America and a portion of the Caribbean. The publication was realized with t...

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