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MEDIA WATCH:  Jail Criminal Structure, Includes Guards

Posted on January 3, 2018 in Media WatchPanama

Crime thrives at Panama's notorious La Joya prison
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OPINION: Undoubtedly, the prison system is one of our failures as a society and the biggest problem is that successive governments perpetuate the evil. This is a clear example that business is above justice and the common good.

There are more than 15,000 detainees who are fed with our taxes, without reason of being detaine . And as if that were not enough, each government announces the construction of new prisons, ‘modern and with more security’, as if this were a great action. The truth is that among the  detainees that cost us an arm and a leg, there are more than 3,000  foreigners who can well be deported and relieve overcrowding and the heavy burden of their maintenance..

If we add that the detainees, instead of instead of being rehabilitated  what happens is the opposite. Within our prisons there is a whole corrupt system that goes from the stores of custodians that generate huge profits, to new centers of command and action of the crime bosses. They have a whole network at their service, from custodians to other criminals, and from there they operate at their ease, with telephone lines and weapons. They give orders and act as if they were in total freedom. It is a corrupt system that shames us and that should be eliminated immediately. We have to refine this treatment scheme for the detainees, because what there is represents the living example of a failure of our society … LA ESTRELLA , Jan 3



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The article makes no mention of the efforts to reform the penitentiary system, including the inauguration of an Academy in Aguadulce in May, 2017, specifically for training pre-screened applicants.

I believe members of the first graduating class are now working at Chiriqui and La Nueva Joya.

Government puts into operation Academy for comprehensive training of custodians

Thursday, 18 of May of 2017  |      Redacción   |   E. Barrios/F. Peña


President Varela calls for working together on the building of a safe and violence-free country.

The President of the Republic, Juan Carlos Varela today inaugurated the of Penitentiary Training Academy, with headquarters in Aguadulce, province of Coclé, the purpose of which will be to provide comprehensive training to custodians working in the Penitentiary System of the Ministry of Government.

During the opening ceremony of the Academy, the President stated that "our objective is that persons deprived of liberty and adolescents who have been under the Special Regime of Criminal Responsibility can be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society, and receive humane and professional treatment during the execution of the sentence that corresponds to their offense”.

The President stated that this aim will only be possible with the formulation of educational management and the planning, organization, direction and evaluation of training programs. Additionally to the specialization, improvement and permanent training of public officers of the Penitentiary Career.

"Today we are taking an important step toward building a modern Democratic State of Law in Panama. This is a project necessary to consolidate the reform of the Penitentiary System and set the basis for its successful implementation”, said the Head of the Executive.

For her part, the Minister of Government, María Luisa Romero, highlighted the progress and challenges of the System and explained that as a country we must give sustainability to the Penitentiary Reform that seeks an effective re-socialization of persons deprived of liberty.

The strategic plan of the Penitentiary Reform has five points:

  • institutional strengthening
  • professionalism of personnel
  • security to guarantee life and human rights
  • improvement of the living conditions of persons deprived of liberty
  • rehabilitation.

The treatment and rehabilitation programs have 357 women and 2,657 men deprived of liberty that carries out intra and extra-mural activities while 939 do educational activities.

Among the programs are: My Voice For Your Eyes, The Book In This Place, Theater Work Behind The Wall, The Campaign Think It Before, My Chair First, and the IntegrArte Penitentiary brand.

New Headquarters - Promotion N°39

The new headquarters of the AFP has the capacity to train 150 men and women aspiring as penitentiary custodians. The infrastructure has 5 one-storey buildings distributed as dormitories (men and women), academic areas, with classrooms, laboratories, a study center, penitentiary library, administrative area, dining and kitchen area.

It is built on a globe of land of more than 27 hectares that the Ministry of Education ceded in 2013 to the Ministry of Government for its administration and use. The investment in the facilities of the Academy exceeds 272 thousand balboas and is currently is tendering the second phase of the Academy, with an investment that will be 2 million 500 thousand balboas.

Also will be built centers that improve the conditions of the detention of inmates, the Penitentiary Career was approved by Law No. 42 of 14 September 2016, which establishes better salary conditions and labor stability of the custodians.

As part of the inauguration of the new headquarters of the AFP, was carried out, the graduation corresponding to the Promotion N° 39, where 128 penitentiary custodians were certified to assume work in the different centers of detention of adults and adolescents of the country.

To the Penitentiary System will enter 103 new custodians; meanwhile 25 will be located in the centers of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies.

President Varela emphasized that "this strategy fits perfectly with the Security Plan" More Opportunities and Firm Hand ", which seeks to prevent and combat crime" and, together with the work of the security forces, has enabled:

- That 95% of adolescents in conflict with the Law, which population is 298, is participating in educational activities and re-socialization.

- Reduce homicides by 31.7%. From 568 in 2014 to 388 in 2016

- Record seizure of drugs for two consecutive years, with more than 58 tons in 2015 and more than 68 tons in 2016.

- Recovering about 5,000 firearms, tried 1,321 gang members and reinserted more than 760 young at risk.

Therefore, the President said that all these results will have a long-term impact if the population understands the concept of citizen security, which involves the support of parents, teachers, citizens, public officers and the media.



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Hearing begins into jail system corruption

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THIRTEEN   people  have been called  to a Monday, March 26 hearing  into corruption in Panama’s Penitentiary system.

The hearing was rescheduled from February after one of the accused changed lawyers’

According to a Public Ministry statement prosecutor Ruth Morcillo will participate in the hearing.

Among those charged are four current officials of the Penitentiary System, and three former officers.



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  • Admin_01 changed the title to Jail System Corruption

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