Prison Conditions

Last update: July 28, 2014

Prison conditions do not meet international standards and are harsh and life threatening due to overcrowding, insufficient access to food and water, violence, abuses by prison officials, and the influence of organized crime.

Overcrowding is a significant risk to prisoner welfare.  As of September 2013, the total prison population was 12,969 in a system with a designed capacity of 8,603.  Prisoners suffer from severe overcrowding, malnutrition, lack of adequate sanitation and medical care, and, in some prisons, lack of adequate ventilation and lighting.

Judicial inefficiency, corruption, and insufficient resources delay proceedings in the criminal justice system, and lengthy pretrial detention is a serious problem.  As of September 2013, 50 percent of prison inmates were formally sentenced.  The law mandates the release of a detainee whose case has not come to trial and whose time in detention has exceeded the maximum prison sentence for the crime of which he is accused.  As a result of trial delays, many pretrial detainees already served time in prison equivalent to the maximum allowable for their crime.  Many prisoners remained in jail after acquittal or completion of their sentences due to the failure of officials to process their releases.