“Colombia está viviendo un momento de hiper-encarcelamiento”

Entrevista con el presidente de la Fundación Comité en Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos

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  1. Main points from Franklin Castañedas FCSPP interview with PBI: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wPp2nSwMR4
    1. Colombia is living a period of “hyper-incarceration”: creating new crimes, increasing the severity of sentences, lengthening the periods in which a person is waiting for a trial and sentencing.
    2. 5 years ago there were 60,000 people incarcerated. Today: 115,000 people.
    3. The government has just passed a law (Ley de Seguridad) which will increase incarceration times.
    4. Not only will more people be incarcerated now but those already incarcerated will spend more time in prison. As a consequence there is a serious problem of overcrowding in prisons.
    5. El Modelo (Bucaramanga) y La Picota (Bogotá) are over 100% overcrowded.
    6. Health services are provided by a prívate Enterprise which is paid to treat just 70,000 prisoners.
    7. The political prisoners are sent to the worst prisons as a punishment by the state, because they are viewed as “enemies”. In part this is due to the fact that while the INPEC is supposed to be a civil body, it is trained (“educated”) as a military institution.
    8. VALLEDUPAR: The FCSPP are waiting for a judicial determination (Accion de Tutela) submitted by over 560 prisoners demanding the closure of the prison.
    9. WATER: Just 5 minutes of water a day for 1,100 prisoners in a rural environment with temperatures between 35-40 degrees and humidity of over 80%. This environment requires a large intake of water which is being denied to prisoners. Air conditioning and fans are not allowed into the prison. This also leads to hygiene and sanitation problems, if there is no water there is no possibility to flush waste away. The prisoners relieve themselves into bags which they then throw into the patios. This is an extremely unhealthy environment.
    10. HEALTH: One result of the water shortage is an epidemic of gastro intestinal infections. This is added to the psychological illness of being incarcerated in the first place. Almost all of the visits of the Secretary of Health for the department of Cesar state that the food in the prison is contaminated with “fecal coliforms”.
    11. GUARDS: The guards in the Valledupar prison are the “most violent”. In the last 2 years the FCSPP have documented 80 cases of torture, inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment. 97% percent of the formal complaints remain in impunity. The training manuals for INPEC are teaching a series of methods and mechanisms that would be completely illegal in any other context, thus cruel and inhuman treatment is becoming systematic.

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