Costa Rica’s Justice Minister Cecilia Sánchez Romero was forced this week to defend before the Legislative Assembly the partial release of hundreds of inmates to reduce overcrowding. The program has sparked criticism from various sectors, including the Public Security Ministry.
Costa Rica’s Supreme Court ordered prison officials to come up with a plan to relieve overcrowding in the San Sebastián prison within one month. The court said prisoners "are sleeping on pieces of mattresses or on the ground, putting up with the cold” and rats climbing out of the drains at night.
In 2005, the country’s prisons were 4 percent overcrowded. Today there are an additional 4,793 people behind bars, bringing the overcrowding rate to 54 percent. There are a total of 13,923 people in prison in Costa Rica.
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay – Latin America's prisons are overcrowded, violent and sometimes lack even the most basic services, despite the fact that several of the region's current leaders themselves spent time behind bars.