Humanization of prison policy, the other key to total peace for Petro

Humanization of prison policy, the other key to total peace for Petro

President Gustavo Petro’s peace policy faces a new legislative challenge this semester. This is due to the fact that the substantive discussion of the project for the humanization of prison policy through the reform of the penitentiary code will begin in the ordinary sessions.

This project is not an insignificant matter, said Justice Minister Néstor Osuna, pointing out during the project submission that the initiative is at the forefront of the current government’s priorities. For that reason, it will reach the committees with an urgent message.

“I would like this project to promote a debate in Colombian society about the behaviors that should be punished, who should be punished and how they should be punished. And these questions are the most political that should exist in a civilization,” the official said.

And it is that the initiative has gained such relevance within Petro’s peace policy that last week it topped the agenda of the peace talks taking place in Venezuela between the Colombian state and the ELN guerrillas.

After that meeting in Venezuela, Pablo Beltrán said that they agree with the project as several points considered in the project have been raised at the dialogue table.

“He exposed all the central elements of prison reform, which we agree with because of its humanitarian nature. The government as a whole provides care for detainees. It coincides with the protocol we have drawn up at the table,” said Beltrán. During that meeting, Néstor Osuna reaffirmed the continuity of his management with regard to the agreed humanitarian aid for the political prisoners of the ELN.

The Eln has insisted on the need to provide humanitarian aid to about 40 guerrillas who are currently sick in various prisons in the country. In addition, there is already a commitment from the state to release 8 of those who are in terminal condition, as noted by the leader of the negotiating team, Otty Patiño.

What does the project aim for?

And the goal, according to Minister Osuna, is to prevent prisons from remaining schools of crime; change the idea that these must be places of suffering; achieve efficient and timely compensation for victims, and achieve real processes of rehabilitation.

“The project is intended for prisoners who are studying, teaching or working and who have served part of their sentence. Prisoners involved in serious crimes, sexual crimes or crimes against children will not be favored,” the minister clarified.

The project, as explained by the government, does not entail reduced sentences or implement mass releases, but instead proposes resocialization processes ending in a series of benefits, so that prisoners can more easily reintegrate into society.

The bill states that the maximum sentence for a crime will be 40 years. The maximum sentence for cumulation of crimes in Colombia will be 50 years.

Osuna pointed out that some criminal code crimes, such as lack of food, defamation, slander, will be eliminated; among other things, the illegal transfer of checks, which, according to the official, can be punished by other measures that also repair the damage without resorting to criminal law

According to what EL HERALDO has learned, the project would undergo serious changes in the process, but overall it is “seen by the executive that there is a good environment for it to be approved”.

In dialogue with this publishing house, the representative of the Juan Espinal Democratic Center noted that the first thing to do is to find a way to solve the overcrowding in the prisons. “There are cities in our country that are 200 and 300% overpopulated. But I do not agree that prisons should be converted into hotels, it is alarming what the minister says that convicts go to work during the day and come back at night to serve their sentences.”

Green Alliance Party senator Gustavo Moreno stressed that after 24 years, a fundamental restructuring of the country’s prison and penitentiary system will be achieved in the country.

“We need to restructure USPEC, we need to see if it should be liquidated or better merged with INPEC,” the lawmaker said.

He added: “Minister, if we invest 1.5 billion pesos that USPEC is spending today and the 1.5 billion that INPEC is spending, in effective resocialization and rehabilitation of Colombia’s 160,000 deprived of liberty, the prison system will change and security of this country will improve.”

On the other hand, Daniel Gutiérrez, General Director of INPEC, stressed the need for prison reform to relieve pressure on detention centers in Colombia. “We must not forget that we have had an unconstitutional state of affairs for more than 30 years, so reform that brings about change is necessary.”

The official explained that, in fact, we have 20% overcrowding in the 126 prisons across the country. We have the biggest problem in the stations and in the URIs because we have 170% overcrowding there”.

For Juan Lozano, the way to make prisons more humane cannot be to open the doors for delinquents, criminals and murderers to take to the streets.

“If you essentially think of the perpetrators in the sense that they have all sorts of benefits and the victims are forgotten, then the basic equation of justice is broken.”

He added that the government should think “of the victims and potential victims, of what so many unpunished criminals on the streets would imply,” said the former Republic senator and political analyst.

Source: El Heraldo