Ecuador began prison census after bloody prison massacres

Ecuador began a census of its prison population on Monday to improve their living conditions after seven massacres that have left some 400 inmates dead since 2021, authorities reported.

“Among some of the benefits of this process is the strengthening of medical care and access to specific treatments, in order to improve the quality of life” of the inmates, the Care Service for Persons Deprived of Liberty said on Twitter. (SNAI).

The entity will carry out the census in the 36 prisons in the country, with a capacity for some 30,000 people and in which it currently estimates that there are about 31,900 inmates.

The overpopulation reached 39,000 prisoners in 2021 but after the bloody rebellions the government has granted pardons and benefits to decongest the prisons.

The census started in the Andean provinces of Carchi (north and border with Colombia) and Peru (south and border with Peru).

It will conclude on November 11 in the coastal Guayas (southwest), where the largest prison population is (about 13,100 people) and houses the prisons where more confrontations between inmates have been recorded since last year.

“For three months, simultaneously, in the north and south of the country, the Prison Census will be carried out, starting in #Carchi and #Loja,” said the SNAI.

The entity indicated last Friday that the census will allow updating the information on inmates to “improve their living conditions and for better administration” of the detention centers.

Since February 2021, there have been seven prison massacres in Ecuador with some 400 deaths, some of which are among the worst in Latin America.

Located between Colombia and Peru, the largest producers of cocaine in the world, Ecuador faces an increase in drug trafficking and crime.

Members of various gangs linked to drug trafficking compete for power inside the prisons, with massacres that leave dismembered and incinerated bodies.

A government-created pacification committee said in April that Ecuadorian prisons “are considered warehouses for human beings and torture centers.”

Ecuador, with 18 million inhabitants, seized an annual record of 210 tons of drugs in 2021, when the homicide rate almost doubled to close with 14 murders per 100,000 people.

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