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  • Guatemala's President Alejandro Giammattei gestures while speaking during a news conference with El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele in San Salvador, El Salvador January 27, 2020.

    Guatemala's President Alejandro Giammattei gestures while speaking during a news conference with El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele in San Salvador, El Salvador January 27, 2020. | Photo: Reuters

Published 30 January 2020
Opinion

The Guatemala government has proposed the implementation of measures to reduce overcrowding in the country's prisons.

The government of Guatemala announced a new reform to its prison system that includes the construction of a maximum security prison, the creation of "rehabilitation farms" and the implementation of the electronic shackle in order to reduce overcrowding that reached 400 percent in 2019.

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The General Directorate of the Guatemalan Penitentiary System reported last year that the number of people deprived of freedom quadruples the capacity of the existing infrastructure in the country. Guatemala has 21 detention centers in which 25,500 men and women remain in detention.

The Guatemalan government has proposed the construction of a prison to house between 1,500 and 2,000 inmates to reduce overcrowding and generate a rearrangement in the country's prison centers. Also, a maximum security prison to house the 200 “most dangerous” inmates of the penitentiary system, totally away from the urban population.

The Vice Minister of Security of the Central American nation, Gendri Rocael Reyes Mazariegos, said that "we are going to start with the farms (of rehabilitation) where we will transfer the people who gather a profile to be rehabilitated, so that we have an order of the inmates according to his criminal profile. ” 

As for the electronic shackle, the measure is contemplated for prisoners who have committed minor crimes, people over 65, pregnant women, people with serious or terminal illnesses, people with disabilities, fathers or mothers who are heads of household and adolescents in conflict with the criminal law.

The HispanTV agency reports that the judicial delay in Guatemala has caused the overcrowding levels in prisons and detention centers to reach record figures, according to that media outlet, in the Central American country there are 6 judges for every 100,000 inhabitants, and of the total population deprived of liberty at least half are in pretrial detention or awaiting trial.

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