Prisons should be a place of second chances for inmates. The time of sentence that a prisoner is serving should be a time of re-socialization and humanization. People who made mistakes and are deprived of their freedom for it should be able to return to life outside of prison, with new goals and values to seek a dignified life. However, this is far from the truth.
In Colombia, there has been a prison crisis for several years, in which inmates live an unworthy life. That is why they are not allowed to develop different aspects of their life, with which they could gain new knowledge and live their life honestly outside of prison.
Overcrowding is the most serious problem in prisons and generates all kinds of problems within the establishments. Prisons have many more inmates than their capacity. This makes them live their life in a dehumanizing way and generates more social and psychological problems that do not allow them to progress and fix their past mistakes. Overcrowding, lack of space, and basic conditions expand physical to mental imprisonment, where the human person does not have the necessary space to develop their personal skills.
Overcrowding in prisons violates the dignity of people. They have nowhere to rest, they do not have optimal health or cleanliness. In addition to the overcrowding, there are events that show negligence in caring for inmates. A few months ago, a fire broke out in a police center where eight people were burned to death. Another example is the misinformation about the country’s prison situation. The lack of care about the prison crisis is so precarious that there is not even an exact number of prisoners. Three public bodies give three different numbers on the quantity of prisoners in the country. This shows that there is no reliable information on the prison situation in the country, so effective solutions cannot be sought.
The prison crisis requires exploring new solutions to try to remedy the infringement on the fundamental rights of persons deprived of liberty, to safeguard their life and health. Even if a person loses their right to liberty, they do not lose their dignity. Prisons should be a space to grow. To expand the mind toward understanding worthy ways of living life. I think prisons should be thought of as a place of reconciliation. Where people who are deprived of their liberty, for committing crimes, have the opportunity to change and learn to live in peace and towards the search for better life decisions.
Published: December 21, 2020
Written by Lucia Angulo, a current HQ Marketing Intern from Latin America. She is a graduating Audiovisual & Multimedia Communication student from the University of La Sabana in Colombia.
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