The high court made this call based on the crisis affecting the prison system and transitory detention centers in Colombia. Archive.
Through a pronouncement issued on Wednesday, February 1, the Constitutional Court urged the national government to study the inclusion, within the National Development Plan —PND—, of policies that make it possible to counteract the prison crisis that is currently being experienced in the country. .
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For the high court, the administration of President Gustavo Petro must implement in the PND and in the National Investment Plan, the pertinent measures to overcome the unconstitutional state of affairs that occurs in a large number of prisons and transitory detention centers in Colombia. .
In the same way, he asked the Executive that, as soon as both mechanisms are implemented, the high court be informed of the initiatives that are going to be implemented in conjunction with local and regional entities, as well as the short, medium and long-term objectives. for its commissioning.
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In addition, he urged the Congress of the Republic to analyze and process those measures that the national government is going to adopt.
Specifically, the document issued by the judicial body stated that “it is necessary for the Constitutional Court to order that the national Government and Congress, within the framework of their own constitutional and legal powers, design, prepare, adopt, implement and execute the actions, decisions, policies or legislative and administrative measures that are necessary” to solve the structural problems that affect the penitentiary system.
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This is not the first time that the Court has drawn the Government’s attention to the massive violations of human rights against the prison population in the country. In fact, they have made these warnings since 1998 and since then they have made three pronouncements, the last being the one issued against the government of President Petro.
Now, regarding the communication delivered on February 1, this arose as a result of the review made by the magistracy of the Special Monitoring Chamber, made up of Paola Andrea Meneses, Diana Fajardo and Jorge Enrique Ibáñez. Within this analysis, they found that despite the existence of some regulations that seek to mitigate the crisis in the prison system, there are still impediments for the population deprived of liberty to enjoy their rights within prisons and transitory detention centers.
The Constitutional Court has even registered the existence of 98,469 people deprived of their liberty by December 2022; This means that there is an overpopulation. These figures are consistent with those presented by the Minister of Justice, Néstor Osuna, in November 2022 in the midst of a debate on political control due to the current crisis in the prison system.
The head of the Justice and Law portfolio stated that there are 97,300 people deprived of liberty in prisons guarded by Inpec; 22,319 are in police stations and 71,185 have the measure of house for jail. In turn, 1,561 people are in Immediate Reaction Units and 2,900 have been confined in territorial entity jails for a total of 195,265 detainees.
For the Court, the crisis worsens if data from the La Paz prison in Antioquia is taken into account, where overcrowding is greater than 200%: there are 1,000 people confined there when its maximum capacity is 375. The judicial body also found that the overpopulation in the Immediate Reaction Units is up to 110% and in the Immediate Attention Centers (CAI) it is 280%.
Taking this into account, Judge Ibáñez recalled that in the debates held in the Court last year several members of the current Government were summoned to a public hearing; however, none attended. “(…) Both the national government and the other institutions involved in the ECI have not been able to formulate a specific strategy or action plan to overcome the violation of rights and translate it into a public policy,” said the robed man.
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