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One-Sixth of Ecuador Prisoners Remain Unsentenced, Census Reveals

One-Sixth of Ecuador Prisoners Remain Unsentenced, Census Reveals

Census exposes alarming proportion of unsentenced Ecuador prisoners, prompting president’s call for judicial efficiency.

Census exposes alarming proportion of unsentenced Ecuador prisoners, prompting president’s call for judicial efficiency. (Photo: BBC)

Ecuador Prisoners Plight Revealed: Urgent Call for Judicial Efficiency

A national census conducted in Ecuador has unveiled a distressing reality: nearly one-sixth of the Ecuador prisoners remain unsentenced. President Guillermo Lasso has seized this moment to urge the judicial system to expedite proceedings, aiming to alleviate the burden on overcrowded jails.

President Lasso, who will leave office later this year, expressed his concern regarding the issue. The current Ecuador prisoners’ population stands at 31,321, with most inmates held for drug trafficking, robbery, or homicide offenses. This number surpasses the prison capacity of 30,134 reported by the prisons agency SNAI in December 2022.

Overcrowding, which was reported at 12.9% in June, has exacerbated the already dire situation. However, an updated figure for overcrowding was not provided on Monday. The Ecuador prisoner’s system has long suffered structural issues, such as overcrowding and dangerous living circumstances. The situation has deteriorated in recent times, with riots becoming increasingly common and claiming the lives of over 400 prisoners since late 2020.

READ ALSO: Drunk Delaware Man Jamal Wing Bites A K9 Dog Multiple Times, Resists Arrest From State Police

IACHR links violence to overcrowding, limited rehabilitation resources, and related factors

The census further revealed that more than 5,000 individuals, comprising 16% of the total  Ecuador prisoners’ population, have been convicted but not yet sentenced or are awaiting trial. President Lasso emphasized that this figure should raise concerns within the judiciary. He reiterated the government’s policy of prioritizing the release of deserving individuals who have served their sentences, rather than increasing the number of Ecuador prisoners or constructing more prisons.

Prison violence has been attributed to clashes between criminal groups vying for control of prisons and drug trafficking routes. However, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has pointed out that high rates of overcrowding, reduced rehabilitation budgets, and other factors also contribute to the prevailing violence.

The census results also shed light on prisoners’ grievances regarding the quality of basic services and food supplies. The situation demands urgent attention and underscores the pressing need for reforms within Ecuador prisoner’s system.

As Ecuador grapples with this pressing issue, the government, judiciary, and relevant authorities must work collectively to ensure a fair and efficient judicial process, alleviate overcrowding, and improve the overall conditions and well-being of prisoners. Only through comprehensive reforms and a commitment to human rights can Ecuador address the systemic challenges plaguing its correctional facilities and offer a path toward a more just and rehabilitative system.

READ ALSO: Oregon Man Dies After Being Stabbed Several Times Outside A Bar, Investigation Is Ongoing

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