Prison director accused of taking money to help inmates

Judicial agents detained the director of the Centro de Atención Institucional in Pérez Zeledón, one of the nation’s prisons, and said she was accepting money for favors, including awarding conditional freedom.

The 46-year-old woman was identified by the last names of Valverde Granados by the Ministerio Público. She was transported from the prison to San José Tuesday.

There were a total of six raids relating to the case or related ones. One was at the woman’s home, and another was at the prison. However, others took place at prisons in Cartago, San José and Alajuela, suggesting that the arrest Tuesday is just the initial one. The administrator of the Pérez Zeledón prison also was questioned Tuesday but not detained.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the woman is suspected of taking money in exchange for bettering the situation of prisoners. As an example, the judicial agency said that a prisoner may be moved from a place of heavy security to a location where there were open spaces and the opportunity to work in gardens. There also is the program of semi-institutional where prisoners do not have to spend all of their nights in their cells but could return home.

A man convicted of murder was on such a program when he robbed a bar and was gunned down by police last month. It is not known if he was related to this case.

The arrest Tuesday represents another investigation in the wake of a May 11 breakout attempt at the La Reforma maximum security wing in Alajuela.

The woman is facing an allegation of concusión, which means accepting money or a benefit and abusing the status as a public employee in order to provide a benefit to a third party, said the Ministerio Público.

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