Heavy security mounted at La Reforma prison

Judicial tactical units were at La Reforma prison in San Rafael de Alajuela Sunday in response to rumors of a possible new riot or a breakout attempt. Sunday also is visiting day, and there was a lot of traffic in and out of the prison.

La Reforma was the site of a breakout attempt May 11 and two men suffered fatal knife wounds Jan. 2 during what appears to be a provoked riot.

Two more inmate suffered wounds Saturday afternoon in the minimum security section of the prison in what appears to have been a personal fight. Both men had homemade weapons. A sweep of the section later turned up more than 100 such weapons. The Fuerza Pública and the Judicial Investigation Organization’s tactical squad also were called in.

Prison security is hampered by the overcrowding and in some cases the complicity of guards in the transfer of prohibited items. A group of guards also are under investigation for the murder of an inmate shortly after the May breakout attempt. The man suffered fatal injuries from a beating in his cell in the maximum security section.

La Reforma appears to be the battle group between two groups of prisoners who are trying to monopolize the trade there in drugs and other contraband items. The men who died Jan. 2 are believed to have been leaders of one group.

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