Europa and latin america / Covid-19 / Penitentiary systems

EL PAcCTO's work with correctional facilities in Latin America

21 May 2020
Reuniones virtuales UE -Latinoamérica

EL PAcCTO continues with its consultations planned in the Annual Plan 2020; COVID19 has not prevented it continuing with the work. To support Latin American countries in the fight against organised transnational crime, the Correctional Systems’ cooperation component has organised several virtual activities between European players and the representatives of Latin American prisons. The technical assistances given in May demonstrate the effectiveness of virtual meetings and webinars.

Infrastructure of maximum security prisons

On 7 May, the Italian expert Ettore Barletta, architect and Director of the Central Technical Office of the Italian Prison Administration Department, participated online with the leaders of the Ministry of Justice and Peace of Costa Rica to provide technical assistance in the architectural design of a maximum security prison.

Also participating in the meeting was Ms. Carla Ciavarella, Director of Office V – Coordination of Institutional Cooperation Relations and DAP reference for the COVID CHANNEL of the EL PAcCTO Programme, who spoke in detail of the technical characteristics and treatment of differentiated circuits, in particular of the Italian 41 bis system, which influence the morphology of the infrastructure.

Participating for the Ministry of Justice and Peace of Costa Rica was the Coordinator Jeff Rodriguez Alvarado, Diego Alejandro Solano Leandro- Project Administrator, Arnoldo Mora Sequeira- Director of the Building Board and Melissa Gabriela Rivel Castro, Adviser to the Minister.

The meeting was very fruitful, considering that the Italian experts, after presenting the criteria that govern maximum security infrastructures, identified the strengths and weaknesses of the preliminary design drawn up by the Costa Rican engineers, and made certain specific suggestions and alternatives. The two teams will continue working together to find the best option under the conditions presented by the context in question.

The goal is to reduce overcrowding in prisons

On 15 May, a virtual workshop was held that served to launch the Technical Advisory Service in order to expand the use of alternative measures to prison and to promote inter-institutional coordination in Ecuador, which was conducted by the Italian expert Mónica Cali, Supervising Magistrate from Turin. Thirty-one representatives of the National Court of Justice, the SNAI, the General Public Defender’s Office, the Office of the State Attorney General and the Judicial Council took part in the workshop.

In the first part of the workshop, further attention was given to the measures taken  in Italy and Ecuador to reduce overcrowding and avoid possible contagions to common inmates and the management of dangerous detainees during the emergency. The issue of precautionary measures in the COVID-19 emergency was discussed in detail, with a focus on pre-trial detention in flagrant cases and possible alternatives.

The second part focused on the analysis of a possible Protocol for the launching of the Inter-institutional Technical Committee for the application of Alternative Measures to Detention (CTI). It was decided to launch the Committee for a pilot project that would address the need to promptly reduce the number of inmates due to the COVID-19 emergency, under the leadership of the National Court of Justice and the collaboration of the other institutions involved in the criminal justice system.