Activists lament prison conditions

By bogotapost May 10, 2015

Colombian PrisonsOn Thursday April 23, nearly 30 activists gathered outside the Ministry of Justice in central Bogota to protest the “appalling conditions” in Colombian prisons.

The Bogota Post spoke to one of the organisers, Alexandra Gonzalez, who said the purpose of the event was to express “solidarity” with the prisoners. “We’re especially worried about political prisoners, but in fact the whole system is a problem and we need to make it better”.

The activists said they had two main goals: to create a national body for prisoners’ rights, involving NGOs and prisoners as well as government representatives, and to highlight the problem of overcrowding.

Overcrowding across Colombia’s prison system stands at 153 percent, and in some prisons is as high as 400 percent.

Latin American prisons are said to be some of the worst in the world, with violence and drug use rampant, making life a daily struggle for the average prisoner.

But reports say those who have money, the corrupt system allows wealthy inmates to buy all the comforts of home, see their families on weekends, and even throw parties.

By Oliver Pritchard