Roberto Santana urges retaking jail reform

Dominican jail systems expert Roberto Santana continues to tour the media to pressure for political and citizen support to retake jail reform in the country. He is urging the participation of all, including legislators, so that the funds may be made available to resume prison reform in the country.

In an interview with Listin Diario, Roberto Santana insisted that the solution to the prison problem requires a concerted effort by the Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches of government. That this be a national project as he says Attorney General Miriam Germán Brito has called for.

Santana in the recent interview maintained that this is a state problem, not one of government. He says politicians from all political parties need to be involved.

He adds that there must be a substantial improvement in justice and in judges and prosecutors, to reduce the number of inmates who are awaiting in jail their sentencing.

He urges that all political parties demand the government retake jail reform that he says needs to go beyond the issue of the Las Parras jail to cover the entire prison system by stages.

Santana has conditioned his returning to the Abinader government jail program reform effort if there is a commitment to resume jail reform nationwide. “If there is a commitment that will not be backed down again and will not force me to resign again, I will get involved,” Santana has pointed out.

Santana says the Las Parras jail is 90% complete and can be fitted to house inmates in the short term. In 2021, Santana said the jail could be opened with the government spending around RD$350 million. The jail was built to replace the La Victoria Jail and cost upwards of RD$7 billion. Santana disputed a statement from President Abinader that it would cost another RD$1.6 billion to open the Las Parras jail.

Santana recalled jail reform stagnated in 2012 after years of advancements he had championed.

On Monday, 1 April 2024, President Abinader met for more than an hour with the monitoring committee he named to oversee the La Victoria-Las Parras prisons and declared that its members will meet again this week.

“They are going to handle the entire process, not only the construction decisions, the budget, but also the form, what will be done after they move to Las Parras,” said the President.

Abinader is counting on Roberto Santana as the lead consultant, and the coordination of Jorge Subero Isa, a former president of the Supreme Court of Justice. Other members of the named committee are ombudsman, Pablo Ulloa; the director of the National Public Defense Office, Rodolfo Valentín Santos and five engineering deans from UNPHU, UASD, PUCMM, UNIBE and INTEC universities.

Read more in Spanish:
Listin Diario
DR1 News

2 April 2024