Update on the jail reform; Roberto Santana tells it all

International jail expert Roberto Santana reaffirmed his statements that the Las Parras Jail can be in use with less than 30% of what President Luis Abinader had said was needed to conclude the jail. Santana insists an analysis of the jail situation in 2021 determined RD$288 million plus RD$72 million for access roads to be built by the Ministry of Public Works was needed to turn the mega jail with its 84 buildings into eight separate smaller jails with separate access roads. Santana is regarded as the leading jail reform specialist in Latin America

Santana said on the program that the Monday, 11 March 2024 fire at the La Victoria Jail with at least 13 inmate deaths, he received a call four days later from the President who consulted him on the difference between the RD$1.6 billion of the Ministry of Housing vs the RD$288 million plus RD$72 million in 2022 that he says is what is needed, with the adjustments for inflation and deterioration of the closed jail infrastructure.

The mayor of Guerra, where the Las Parras jail is located, made available the construction materials and the trucks for the use by the Ministry of Public Works for the construction of access roads, said Santana, but the Minister of Public Works Deligne Ascención did not act. Santana says that 90% of the Las Parras Jail is ready.

Santana said he resigned as advisor on jail reform after the government did not act on recommendations nor advance on actions in favor of jail reform.

Santana says that there are areas in the Las Parras that could have already relocated 2,400 inmates to decongestion the La Victoria jail with but RD$8 million in six months.

He said the government has preferred to advance on the litigation with the contractors of the jail in the courts, the long way to address the Las Parras jail.

Santana is a strong advocate of removing the jails from the Police and military control. He has insistently said that the corruption in the jails maintain the system that he says the penitentiary system is “collapsed” in the Dominican Republic, with delays in the Dominican government acting on the recommendations for jail reform. Santana says there is a need to act in general on jail reform.

He says there is a decree September 2020, just a month after President Luis Abinader taking office, that calls national jail reform is a national priority and calls for continuing with the global reform. He conditions continuing to work with jail reform that this be global, not just the Las Parras jail.

Santana has complained in jail reform, the President Luis Abinader has allowed himself to be sabotaged.

Santana has taken the case of jail reform public as a last resort to push ahead the changes that need to be implemented.

President Abinader appointed a committee with the Subero, president of the ULLOA, He says he will make a proposal to the President on what has to be done.

Defensor del pueblo, four university rectors,

Working with the Ministry of Housing now in charge of the constructions.

Santana called for opposition parties to help them to commit the government to comply with the structural reform of the jails. Santana says multi-political party action to go from talk to action.

Attorney General Miriam German proposes a national pact to resolve jail reform issues.

Read more:
El Caribe
YouTube – CDN interview
El Dia

DR1 News

27 March 2024