If you treat people badly you can’t expect them to come out of prison treating other people well. This is the idea behind the nearly constructed prison in Venezuela, that puts rehabilitation before punishment.
The first model prison of Venezuela, called The Community Penitentiary of Coro, located in state of Falcon, will be inaugurated this Thursday 10 July.
In a press release from the office of Justice and Interior Relations, it was announced that the prison will have 17 buildings distributed over 21 hectares of land, with the buildings being for administration, security and custody, imprisonment, services, education, culture, sport, health and work, as well as spaces for relaxation and leisure.
Costing more than 62 million dollars, this new centre represents a step towards the consolidation of the Project of Humanisation of the Penitentiary System and a partial solution to alleviate the prison emergency that Venezuela is experiencing.
In 2007, 415 prisoners died as a result of prison violence. Although the prison population has decreased significantly since 1992 when it was 31,400, the 20,000 inmates distributed amongst the current 32 prisons suffer very bad conditions as criminal gangs fight for control of drugs, guns and territory.
The new prison has a capacity of 870 inmates, who are distributed among maximum, medium, and minimum security.
The project of Humanisation of the Penitentiary System has the motto of ‘Honouring the right to life”, and is an initiative that implements and applies human rights through policies of re-education, rehabilitation, and social reinsertion.
The minister of popular power for justice and interior relations, Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, emphasised that one of the major differences with this new centre is the internal control, “Here everything is in the hands of humanitarian people. Here inside, the prisoners are organised, they have their sleeping area, sanitary installations, and 3 daily meals prepared by a dietician to give them the nutritional proportions that are appropriate.” He added that they will have medical services including dentistry, x-ray and medicine, “and all the attention that they need.”
There will be workshops where prisoners will be educated in different trades. There will also be a special space in the women’s area for those who have children.
The government is also working to reduce incarceration rates through measures to tackle the social roots of crime such as eradicating poverty and improving and democratizing policing through the Police Reform Law.