An attempt at petty shoplifting will now cost a would-be thief in Bogota five months in prison, after a local judge brought down his sentence Tuesday, reported national media.
Luis Augusto Mora was caught shoplifting $8 worth of locally made Jumbo chocolate bars in a Bogota supermarket, and will now be sent to La Picota prison, one of Colombia’s harshest, typically reserved for drug traffickers and members of organized crime, reported Colombian weekly news magazine Semana.
|“Not every crime necessarily indicates that the person should go to prison. Prison should be a place for truly serious crimes.”|
The prosecution said of the case that the defendant had confessed to “binge” on chocolate and had previously committed crimes of a similar magnitude.
Minister of Justice Alfonso Gomez, on the other hand, seemed to disagree with the decision. In an interview with Blu Radio on Tuesday, Gomez said, “Not every crime necessarily indicates that the person should go to prison. Prison should be a place for truly serious crimes.”
Due to the repeated nature of his offenses, the prosecution decided to send him to jail, judging him a risk to society. Mora was sent to Pavilion One, in La Picota prison in Bogota, which suffers from 350% overcrowding.
Mora declared that he had received professional help and would never make the same mistake again.
The ruling raises questions about Colombia’s judicial and and prosecution systems, as well as how much it will cost the correctional system to punish a man for a crime of $8.
The Colombian judicial system is widely derided for the high levels of impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of crimes including extortion, theft, targeted political violence, and violence against women, among others.
The Colombian prison system, overall, is overcrowded by 58% on average, leading to grave human rights concerns in many prisons.