Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso Pardons Inmates Over Deadly Prison Riots
Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso pardoned some inmates to address the overcrowding and prison riots that claimed hundreds of lives of the prisoners in recent months.
Lasso's office announced the move late Monday but did not specify how many prisoners will receive the pardon, Al Jazeera reported.
France 24 noted that the measures done by the president were a part of Ecuador's government plan to combat prison violence due to altercations between criminal gangs connected to drug trafficking.
Ecuador President Pardons Inmates With Complications
According to Ecuador's Communication Ministry, the pardon issued by President Lasso will benefit prisoners who are seriously or terminally ill and those involved in traffic offenses that did not cause death or injury.
"This decision includes the total forgiveness of custodial sentences but does not extinguish the obligation of comprehensive reparations [to victims] that all those receiving pardons are responsible for," Lasso's press office said in a statement.
In early October, the head of the prison authority said that Ecuador planned to pardon as many as 2,000 prisoners to ease the pressure on their prison system, with priority on elderly, female, and prisoners with disabilities and terminal illnesses.
Aside from pardoning inmates, Ecuador reportedly plans to send at least 170 Colombian prisoners back to their home country. The plans came after an agreement between the Ecuadorian and Colombian governments that occurred over the weekend.
Prison Riots in Ecuador Kills 300 Inmates
The pardon from President Lasso came after more than 300 inmates lost their lives while inside the prisons this year.
The most recent prison riot happened earlier this month with 68 inmates dead at a prison in the city of Guayaquil, known as Penitencia del Litoral. Reports noted that the prisoners attacked each other with guns, explosives, and machetes.
In September, the same facility saw historic numbers of dead prisoners as 119 people were killed. The incident was Ecuador's deadliest prison riot on records.
According to experts, several factors such as prison overcrowding, a lack of rehabilitation programs for inmates, insufficient infrastructure, and shortage of trained staff can contribute to violence inside the facilities.
Ecuador prison is reportedly are about 30% overcrowded and has "poor living conditions" for inmates.
It can be recalled that the country has 65 prison facilities that can house up to 30,000 people. However, the system houses almost 39,000 inmates, including 15,000 who have not yet received their sentence.
Armed Groups Inside Ecuador Prisons
Security experts named 11 armed groups that battle for power inside the prison system of Ecuador.
Some of the groups were identified as Los Choneros, Lagartos, Tiguerones, Chone Killers, Fatales, Netas, Aguilas, Lobos, Cubanos, and Fantasmas.
The said groups battle to seek control on the cocaine routes, as Ecuador has been a "transit hub" for illegal drugs leaving the United States to Europe.
To control order and peace in the prison system, Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso pledged to utilize the country's armed forces and police.
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written By: Joshua Summers
WATCH: Police Stop Slaughter in Ecuador Prison After Rioting and Gang Massacre Kills at Least 118 Inmates - From South China Morning Post
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