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Prison violence in Venezuela falls by 47%

Ysmel Serrano, General Director of Prisoner Custody and Rehabilitation, said that so far this year prison violence in the country has declined by 47% as a result of different programs applied by the Ministry of People’s Power for the Interior and Justice.

Serrano made this statement on Wednesday during a presentation of his office’s yearly report to the National Assembly Committee for the Interior, Justice, Human Rights and Constitutional Guarantees.

He highlighted progress by saying that last year prison violence fell by 32%.

Serrano explained that the fall in violence is a product of the application of programs, including the provision of buses for prison transfers, the opening of the Coro penitentiary, a successful pilot program to humanize prisons in the state of Carabobo, an increase in the number of prison officials, the opening of a soap factory where prisoners can work, and the strengthening of the prison symphonic orchestra program.

The Director added that these policies will be deepened even more through the Superior Prison Council (CSP) that was recently created via presidential decree.

“We will now transform the structural foundations of the country’s prison system and improve the current judicial system.  We have to start talking about a system that involves every institution, where the processing delays can be diminished significantly and where institutions take on a leading role,” Serrano said.

He also explained that the subject of prison reform should be dealt with at its roots and with a wide government vision in which all actors, under the principle of co-responsibility, take on their corresponding duties.

Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias, Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / March 12, 2009

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