Through the Penitentiary Systems component and with the participation of the component on Cooperation between Justice Systems, EL PAcCTO has organised a virtual meeting in order to advise the Peruvian institute the INPE on the implementation of alternatives to the deprivation of liberty using electronic devices. The ultimate goal is to ease the current overcrowding.
Peru’s Constitutional Court has declared unconstitutional the current high rate of prison overcrowding, and it has promoted a thorough review of the country’s entire prison system through a ruling issued on 26 May. It, therefore, asked the EL PAcCTO programme for technical support on alternatives to the deprivation of liberty with a special focus on electronic devices.
European experts share experiences with Peru
Due to the ruling issued in Peru, the Constitutional Court asked Congress and the Government to solve the overcrowding problem within three months by drawing up a National Penitentiary Policy Plan 2021-2025. All the institutions in the penal chain will participate and a restructuring of the INPE is expected in order to promote the social reintegration of people deprived of their liberty.
On 2 September, a first working meeting was held with the participation of an important delegation from the INPE and three European experts: the Italian surveillance judge, Monica Cali, the head of Telematic Media Services at the Spanish SGIP, María Muñoz Fernández, and the coordinator of the Faro electronic surveillance team with the DGRSP in Portugal, Carlos Jorge Baltazar da Silva.
During the meeting, the INPE expressed its willingness to increase the use of alternative measures to the deprivation of liberty through the use of electronic devices in its 68 penal centres. In addition, they explained the difficulties they were encountering in activating 2000 electronic devices, “shackles”, of which only 27 are being used. Some difficulties are economic, along with mistrust from judges in assigning this type of alternative measure.
Assistance for the implementation of alternative measures
The representatives from Peru seized the opportunity to ask specific questions of the European experts regarding making the best decisions about the implementation of electronic measures. The issues addressed included the cost of the electronic measures, implementation and control procedures, especially the relationship between the implementing company and the prison administration and the relationship with the judicial body that has the task of assigning the measures and monitoring their correct execution. The experts illustrated the implementation procedures for these electronic measures in each country and provided context in their response to the technical questions posed by the INPE representatives.
EL PAcCTO will continue working with Latin American countries to respond to their needs and requests in prison matters. A specific assistance itinerary will, therefore, be proposed to contribute to a broad and efficient implementation of alternative measures in their different forms, including electronic ones.