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    HomeNewsHeadlinesNearly a sixth of Ecuador's prisoners held without sentence -census

    Nearly a sixth of Ecuador's prisoners held without sentence -census


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    QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuador’s prisons are facing a major issue, as a national census revealed that almost one-sixth of the inmates have not been sentenced. President Guillermo Lasso has called for a faster judicial system to alleviate the burden on overcrowded jails.

    According to Lasso, the current prison population stands at 31,321, with the majority of inmates arrested for drug trafficking, robbery, or homicide. This number exceeds the prisoner capacity of 30,134 that the prisons agency SNAI reported in December 2022.

    In June, SNAI stated that overcrowding was at 12.9%, but the updated figure for overcrowding was not disclosed on Monday. Ecuador’s prison system has long grappled with structural problems, including overcrowding and substandard living conditions for inmates. In recent years, riots have become increasingly common, resulting in the deaths of over 400 prisoners since late 2020.

    The census further revealed that more than 5,000 individuals, accounting for 16% of the total prisoners, have been convicted of crimes but are awaiting sentencing or are being held in prison pending trial. Lasso emphasized that this figure should raise concerns within the judiciary system. “Our policy is not to have more prisoners or build more prisons, our policy is to release those who have served their sentences and deserve freedom,” Lasso stated during an event discussing the census results.

    The government attributes prison violence to conflicts between criminal groups vying for control of prisons and drug trafficking routes. However, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has highlighted that violence is also a result of high rates of overpopulation and reduced budgets for rehabilitation, among other factors.

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    Apart from these issues, the census also revealed that prisoners have been complaining about the quality of basic services and food supply. The situation in Ecuador’s prisons needs urgent attention and reform to ensure the well-being and rights of inmates.

    Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Jamie Freed

    Credit: The Star : News Feed

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