After setting fire to their dormitories, 43 minors were able to flee from a youth detention center in the south of Bogota, according to local media.
The prison arson was committed during a riot by the residents, Santa Fe Radio reported Tuesday. The building was partially destroyed in the fire.
Ten people were injured the incident, five of them being youths and five being educators who worked at the institution.
A police commander told Caracol Radio that the authorities were attempting to locate the youths who managed to escape during the chaos.
“After a count this morning, we can say that there are 43 youths that fled and we are carrying out several operations to recapture them,” the commander said.
The fire began in the dormitories after youths set fire to their sheets and mattresses during the riot.
Colombian prisons face overcrowding problems and have experienced several strikes by prison guards over this issue and general work conditions.
According to INPEC, Colombia’s 138 prisons “house” over 41,000 prisoners more than they are built to. With a total capacity of 76,519, Colombia’s prisons hold 117,737 individuals, according to the ombudsman’s report.
One measure implemented in 2013 sought to relieve pressure on the strained system by providing for the release of as many as 9,000 inmates convicted for minor offenses. The prisoners in question could be freed from prison on parole or house arrest, or given opportunities to reduce their sentences.
So far, however, no long term solution has been put forth to address the country’s rising incarceration rate and limited penitentiary resources.
After a year of strikes by prisoners and guards alike in protest of dangerous conditions and human rights violations, Colombia’s ombudsman recently prepared a report on the nation’s most overcrowded penitentiaries.
The ombudsman’s report was released amid an ongoing judiciary strike and debates over the elimination of pre-trial detentions.
- Se fugan 43 jovenes tras incendiar cárcel El Redentor en Bogota (Santa Fe Radio)
- Carcel El Redentor en Bogota se desplomó tras amotinamiento (Caracol Radio)