ESPACIO PUBLICITARIO
CARACAS, Tuesday January 29, 2013 | Update
 
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Murder rate in Venezuelan jails 22 times higher than in the streets

Venezuelan dissenters called for the resignation of the minister of penitentiary affairs on the basis that 700 inmates have been killed since she took office in 2011

According to the opposition coalition's estimates, 5,500 people have been killed and another 15,000 injured inside prisons across Venezuela under President Hugo Chávez's 14-year administration (Photo: Roger Valera / AP)
EL UNIVERSAL
Tuesday January 29, 2013  01:48 PM
Upon the violent riot in Uribana jail last Friday, northwest Venezuela, opposition leaders on Monday asked for the resignation of Penitentiary Affairs Minister Iris Valera. Dissenters claimed that the official is accountable for the death of nearly 700 inmates since her appointment in July 2011.

The opposition leaders pointed out that some 5,500 prisoners have been killed since President Hugo Chávez took office in 1999. They added that the current government has failed to build new penitentiaries, and, therefore, overcrowding in prisons exceeds 300%.

They estimated that 15,000 people have been injured in the same period.

In 2004, a state of emergency was declared and the construction of some new 25 prisons was announced, yet none has been built.

Dissenters have also claimed that the murder rate inside prisons is 22 times higher than that in the streets.

Since Minister Valera was appointed, three penitentiaries have been shut down, but none of the eight jails the Government promised to build has been completed.

In Venezuela, there are 31 prisons with a capacity to hold 11,200 inmates, but the inmate population amounts to 45,000.

Translated by Jhean Cabrera
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