Colombia’s justice minister on Thursday denied claims made by Congress that a new penitentiary code being debated in Congress will lead to large-scale release of prisoners.
The article in question is one concerning the use of electronic bracelets and home imprisonment for prisoners serving terms less than 8 years and 5 years respectively. Representatives from Colombia’s Congress had expressed concerns that the reform would result in a significant exodus of prisoners, a claim Minister for Justice Ruth Stella Correa roundly dismissed.
“What the project says is that anyone who has been condemned to eight years in prison can be considered for home imprisonment when they comply with all the requisites, but they will also have to wear the electronic bracelet” said Correa.
According to Correa, the current legislation means that a prisoner with a more serious crime “has a bracelet and can walk around while the less serious crime has a domestic prison” whereas the new legislation will allow for increased use of the electronic bracelet, which has reportedly presented good results in recent studies.
Colombia’s prison system is currently faced with severe problems including chronic overcrowding, a lack of guards and medical support for prisoners. The government declared a humanitarian crisis with regards to the prison situation in late May and an emergency fund has since been activated to try to address the situation.