The Petro Government will not spend a single peso to build prisons, assured the Minister of Justice

On Wednesday, August 17, President Gustavo Petro inaugurated Néstor Osuna Patiño as Minister of Justice.  PHOTO: Presidency of the Republic
On Wednesday, August 17, President Gustavo Petro inaugurated Néstor Osuna Patiño as Minister of Justice. PHOTO: Presidency of the Republic

In the middle of the anti-corruption forum that took place at the Externado de Colombia University, the Minister of Justice, Nestor Osuna, assured that, from the National Government, they are close to presenting a project that seeks to ‘decriminalize’ some crimes. This, he argued, would allow detainees to be released. Within this would be people arrested for crimes such as micro-trafficking or drug dealing.

“When the project of decriminalization or decriminalization of some behaviors is ready, these people will be reintegrated into society, to exercise their rights, to work and leave that world of corruption of which they were surely the architects, but they were also victims. Because those who are in jail, it is true that they have committed acts of corruption, but they have also been victims of that corrupt world.”commented the head of that portfolio.

“The person who is caught with small doses of drugs to trade is clearly acting against the law but is being part of a much larger criminal chain of which he is a victim. Some will tell me, so this government is going to release prisoners?”he added in the middle of his speech.

Within his talk, he assured that Gustavo Petro’s government plan does not include the construction of more spaces for the detention of people. “This government does not want to spend a single peso on the construction of new prisons, it is not a priority to build new prisons. Yes, we want to reduce overcrowding and we have to think of some way to reduce the number of people in prisons”he stressed.

“Let them learn a trade, learn an art, get a job. A person who can be rehabilitated. The Colombian State spends 2.5 million pesos a month for each prisoner, with that money we can do something else (…) Increase the number of judges, we have around 5,000 judges, international figures tell us that we should have 4 times that number. We are not going to quadruple the number of judges in four years”he pointed.

In his social networks, the Colombian president, last June, assured, on his social networks, that “The Colombian State has viewed the prison as a space for revenge and not for rehabilitation (…) what happened in Tuluá, such as the massacre in La Modelo, forces a complete rethinking of prison policy in the face of the humanization of prison and the dignity of the prisoner”.

“The prison will no longer be a space for the violation of rights, it will become a space for resocialization, it contributes to urban peace from the bottom up, in an inclusive upward spiral, which goes from the restorative dialogue between victim-perpetrator-community, repairing broken relationships, producing family and neighborhood coexistence, improving citizen security and therefore, contributing to urban and rural national peace”, Petro pointed out at the time.

This occurred after the existence of a riot in the Tulúa prison, in Valle del Cauca, was reported.

“Unfortunately a riot occurs in pavilion number 8 of the Tuluá prison where there are 1,267 prisoners. We are making the respective verifications of what was presented and the hypotheses can be many: among them an escape attempt, a disturbance of order by (those people) to cover up some situation. But right now unfortunately we have that result and we’re proceeding there. Our National Police, the CTI (Technical Investigation Corps) and Firefighters are supporting us throughout this disastrous situation”reported, in an interview with La W, the director of the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute (Inpec), General Tito Yesid Castellanos.


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