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Carolina Andrade: Ecuador’s prison problem ‘structural’



The Prison crisis in EcuadorMore than 360 detainees have been killed in the last two years, with overcrowding and serious impunity issues unraveling the complex maze of a system under pressure. Crime and the fragility of the state That it has not been able to gain permanent control of the prison.

Past Genocide among the prisonersThe incident, which took place on April 3 at the Quenca Turi Prison, where 20 inmates died, has sparked controversy over prison insecurity and the potential for prison violence to spread to the streets.

Just last year 316 prisoners were killed Clashes between criminal gangs that take control of prisons in different cities of the country, episodes of extreme cruelty that shake the conscience of the public.

Government of the President William LassoSince he began his term in May 2021, he has announced that he wants to end the violence, although in the 10 months he has been in power, he has not been able to show encouraging results.

Medium and long term planning

In a recent report, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) called for Ecuador’s recovery. Internal control of their prisonGive detainees decent conditions and develop a crime prevention policy where incarceration is not the main asset.

Thus, the Lasso government has recently taken up the challenge of creating a new prison model through the implementation of a policy. Human rights For prisoners, a pardon program for prisoners convicted of petty crimes and a series of investments to increase the number of guards and improve infrastructure.

The executive, who wants to involve private companies in key aspects of the rehabilitation system, wants to see results. Medium and long term planningWith the strong cooperation of other state institutions (especially the judiciary) and citizens.

For Caroline AndradeSecurity expert Lasso’s approach – which is to reduce the size of the state – should define priorities so that policies such as security and Social rehabilitation.

He explained to Efe that the version of government, which is the virtue of war Criminal gang The successful crackdown on drug trafficking in prisons and the seizure of large quantities of drugs could “be a component” of the situation.

And that is, according to him, 316 people were killed in 2021 Center of Repentance70% were not convicted, many were held in preventive (temporary) detention, and 39% of those who died were imprisoned for petty crimes.

A structural problem

Andre assures that Ecuador’s prisons are a problem “Structural”Because “there is no greater violence than inequality” in a society that is also facing an economic crisis due to the effects of the Kovid-19 epidemic.

Last year, more than 97,000 Ecuadorian immigrants tried to enter the United States illegally, mainly along the Mexican border, a sign that the country is facing a structural crisis.

The authority is usually “Stigmatize Poverty”, But they do not increase the budget in the social field. “What kind of future does a poor mother want for her children, where violence is becoming increasingly rare?”

If you invest in the fight against poverty, you can also reduce the chances of recruiting young people through criminal structures, experts stressed.

“Heavy hand” is not enough

Andrew also maintained that the “iron fist” policy did not work and said that the proof was that Prison Large caliber weapons were found, including two guards from the police and the military.

None of the organization’s politicization and security strategies have worked well, he said, criticizing the fact that the authorities, without presenting evidence, have hinted that opposition interests against the government are behind the prison riots.

For experts, Prison crisis The example of Brazil, Colombia and El Salvador is that the “iron hand” is not an effective strategy in itself. A comprehensive intervention is needed, he stressed.

Therefore, he suggested speeding up the prisoner resettlement program and applying separate strategies for prisoners deemed extremely dangerous.

The key, he said, is to achieve an effective state presence Public politics Aiming to reduce poverty, dismantle criminal structures and not fill prisons for petty crimes.



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