Prison fire kills 10 inmates in Colombia

Palesa Manaleng


Prison overcrowding is caused by a variety of issues, such as not enough room in prisons, fluctuating crime rates, changes to laws and improvements to law enforcement tactics.

With more prisoners confined to limited spaces, prison officials are forced to cut back the time inmates have in the cafeteria, recreation yards and television rooms. Two and three inmates are bunked in rooms designed for one prisoner or in common areas that were never meant to be used as cells.


According to the New Straits Times, ten inmates were killed and 38 injured when an inferno ripped through a Colombian prison, in the northern city of Barranquilla after inmates set fire to mattresses during a fight.
The fire drew attention to the overcrowding in Colombia’s prisons, where many facilities house several times their capacity. The prison was built for 275 inmates but housed 1 044.
Dozens of inmates were injured when the fire spread through the cell blocks. The fire reportedly started during a clash between inmates and guards in cell block B of Modelo jail.
The director of the Colombian prison system, Gen Saul Torres, told local radio that a fight broke out after guards carried out a search of the cell block during which drugs, mobile phones and weapons were confiscated.
Barranquilla Mayor Elsa Margarita Noguera said it “isn’t right that we can’t guarantee the safety of our prisoners”. She also said the prison was overcrowded.

Read more on prison overcrowding:

Court set to rule on forcing California to ease prison crowding

Colombia prison fire kills 9, injures dozens

Electronic tags to ease prison overcrowding
California Prisoners Could Be Moved Out Of State Due To Overcrowding


About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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