Currently there are 1,510 guides for the control of 41 thousand prisoners in the 55 prisons in the country. The declaration of emergency will allow the recruitment of 500 new agents and start, through a training school, a process of recategorization, salary matching, provision of work equipment and adequate training.
Authorities point to common and dissuasive work The international standard for the control of prisons recommends having one Correctional Security Agent (ASP) for every 10 Persons Deprived of Liberty (PPL), a recommendation that is not met in Ecuador because There is one guide for every 27 prisoners.
At present, the population of PPL is 41 thousand in the 55 rehabilitation centers and provisional detention in the country. For this, 1,510 ASPs are available. This means that 2,590 agents (63.17%) are missing to comply with the international standard.
Ricardo Camacho, former Secretary of Social Rehabilitation, affirmed that this number of ASPs is insufficient and that if we abide by international standards, Ecuador should actually have 8,000 agents for an adequate control of prisons.
He clarified that he respects ASPs very much, but indicated that at least 20% of these personnel have fallen into acts of corruption due to factors such as: low salary, lack of a professional career and training.
Therefore, so far in 2019 have been separated 21 APS: for the entry of drugs, weapons, liquor and technological devices. He said that in six months, with resources, a professional ASP could be formed: three months would be needed to create the school of guides, recruitment and psychological tests. This lack of ASP and an adequate supply of weapons and work equipment, together with overcrowding in the Social Rehabilitation Centers (CRS) of the country, has made living together unsafe and violent.
Proof of this is that in less than five months there have been 9 murders inside the CRS, equivalent to 2.2 deaths per month. The last case was registered in the CRS of Turi, in Cuenca (Azuay). A fight between prisoners left one PPL dead and another injured.
The fact is investigated to determine, even, how they are supplied with weapons. Previous to this case, at the beginning of May, in the CRS of Latacunga, the assassination of a PPL transferred from the Penitenciaria del Litoral occurred.
The ASPs could not do anything because they were unarmed: they stepped aside to avoid being attacked with a knife. The fact was recorded with cell phone by an inmate and published on social networks.
This made it clear that the prisoners have weapons and technology, while the ASPs lack weapons or, at least, immobilizers, shields, vests, clubs, pepper spray and other necessary equipment. To these incidents are added corruption scandals that allowed a month ago, for example, that an ambulance with weapons and other prohibited materials enter the CRS of Guayaquil.
Therefore 26 people are investigated, among them, police officers and officials. New agents will be hired and a recategorization will be done In the face of violence, overcrowding, lack of equipment for the ASPs and surveillance systems, as well as the lack of personnel to control the population, on Thursday, May 16, President Lenin Moreno, declared the State of Exception in the social rehabilitation system of the country.
The Executive Decree indicates that it is sought, in a coordinated manner, to meet the emerging needs and to protect the rights of the PPL as a priority attention group. Patricio Portilla, representative of the ASP, indicated that historically the work of the guides has not been recognized by the authorities.
“Imagine spending 24 hours in a prison center living constant danger, without weapons, without logistics, without safety equipment and that one has to buy their own safety equipment” he lamented.
Ernesto Pazmiño, director of the National Service of Integral Attention to Adult People Deprived of Liberty and Adolescent Offenders, indicated that the declaration of emergency will allow to reduce violent incidents, acts of corruption and to correct the current model that – in his opinion – does not work and it is part of the origin of the crisis of the rehabilitation system. He said that $ 25 million is immediately needed to implement three fundamental axes.
“The general objective of the emergency will be to strengthen the technical process of social rehabilitation,” he said. Among the proposals of the emergency, which will last 60 days and the Ministry of Finance must provide sufficient resources, exactly the recruitment of 500 new penitentiary agents. With this, the gap or deficit will be partially reduced.
In addition, the idea is to work in a recategorization and training of ASP, through a training school, the equalization of their salaries and the acquisition of new implements for their work. “The first thing we will do is a recategorization,” Pazmiño said.
This will imply that ASPs enter the race, for which a process of recruitment, selection and training will be established. With the emergency, it looks for the Police to help them in the internal control, as well as to form groups of ASP, in number of 500, with intensive training of two or three months.
“The objective is to make the prison agents not only officials who are in charge of security control, but also promoters of the rehabilitation process,” he remarked. In addition, Pazmiño said he will present a reform project for a merit penalty reduction, a system similar to that applied in other countries in the region.
“The idea is to reduce the penalty as long as it complies with all the rehabilitation processes and, above all, an education process,” he explained. To this end, those deprived of liberty must demonstrate, for example, interest in studying, training or working while serving their sentence in the country’s prisons. (I)