Six agricultural penal colonies for imprisoned indigenous people and peasant farmers are being drawn up by the Colombian government, INPEC announced Tuesday.
To ease chronic overcrowding and poor conditions in Colombian jails the government hopes to build twelve new prisons, including six that will operate as farms on which the prisoners will work. The idea aims to appeal to indigenous groups and members of congress who are keen to see prisons take the culture and traditions of of indigenous prisoners into account, reported El Espectador.
Each of the six agricultural colonies will have a capacity of 1,000 prisoners and their construction “will not involve large costs”, said General Gustavo Ricaurte, the head of the National Prison Institute of Colombia (INPEC). He made the announcement to a meeting of government officials, indigenous organisations and other NGOs in Bogota on Tuesday.
“We need to bring together our indigenous and rural communities in agricultural colonies (…) We must teach them to work and make the most of their crafts. They must be taught to teach so they can educate their peers in their languages ??and dialects,” he said.
After extensive criticism and recent prison hunger strikes in protest of overcrowding in prisons, General Ricaurte reconfirmed that the government plans to build six “mega-prisons,” each with a capacity of 4,500 inmates, and that they will expand at least 40 prisons to accommodate more detainees. He also claimed that prisons are currently overcrowded by 51%.