La Prensa, La Paz, 16-Feb-2011: Yesterday was a violent afternoon at the San Pedro Prison (in La Paz) after inmates from the "El Palmar" section opened a hole in a wall that separated them from the "Chonchocorito" section, in protest against the unsustainable conditions in which they must live. This generated confusion and resulted in an attempted mutiny which was controlled by police personnel, according to the ANF.
"We've see that there is damage in the Chonchocorito sector. They've caused damage and wood, tables and other artifacts they have inside are being used to cover the hole they made," said Colonel Roberto Torres, police commander.
After the situation was under controlled he indicated that the El Palmar inmates are angry because they've repeatedly requested improved services, especially sanitary services, but their demands have not yet been met.
Torres noted there were no injuries after the police repression that took place using teargas. He also indicated that some police officers remain in the sector to ensure the prisoners' wellbeing.
Mariela Vásquez, wife of Lieutenant Roberto España, an inmate, reported that in the afternoon she received a call from her husband who informed her that "once again" the inmates had entered Chonchocorito. "When my husband was still working in his profession he disbanded several criminal organizations, and several of the delinquents who he put in San Pedro are now doing this out of revenge," she said.
In view of this situation the Government Minister, Sacha Llorenti, announced the government will invest between three and four million dollars to construct a modern prison complex to replace the ancient San Pedro Prison, which was built in 1895. "The Government is working along with other Executive branch organisms on a mega-project which will require us to invest approximately three to four million dollars to construct a great prison complex in the department of La Paz," he confirmed.
"This is a structural problem because the San Pedro Prison was built in 1895 with a capacity for only 400 people. Today it houses over 1500 inmates." (The new prison) will house approximately 2500 inmates who will undergo a re-socialization process.
Currently the terms of reference for a public tender are being prepared, added Llorenti, and construction will begin "as soon as possible". He announced that a rehabilitation center for young delinquents will be inaugurated next week near the town of Viacha.
Source: La Prensa - Date: 16-Feb-2011 - Read this Article in SpanishRead about inmate living conditions and San Pedro Prison tours here.