Six year’s after Colombia’s government announced the construction of new prisons, this initiative is marred by corruption allegations and the failure to deliver two thirds of the promised prison cells.
According to newspaper El Tiempo, a director of the Prison Services Unit, Maria Cristina Palau, was removed from her post amid claims she had received a $200,000 bribe.
The bribe was allegedly made after another director announced that the unit would seek the privatization of a number of prisons.
The unit had been called into existence to lower corruption rates in Colombia’s plagued prison system.
The scandal is only the latest in the unit that was supposed to deliver 11,882 prison cells between 2014 and 2018, but has so far delivered no more than 4,505, according to El Tiempo.
The failures perpetuate overcrowding in Colombia’s prison system that is aggravated by the justice system which is failing to timely prosecute detained suspects.
This has forced prisons in, for example, Medellin to close their doors for new prisoners while suffer excessive overcrowding rates.