Better security is ordered at temporary judicial lockups

The president of the Corte Supreme de Justicia acted Monday to provide more security for prisoners being held temporarily in judicial lockups.

The president,  Zarela Villanueva Monge, issued orders for an inventory of which cells are not monitored by video cameras. She said the percentage has to be brought up to 100.

She acted after 11 workers at the Judicial Investigating Organization lockup were suspended on an allegation of abuse of authority after one had a fight with an inmate.

The judiciary maintains cells for temporary use while prisoners are needed for court proceedings or when they are being interrogated.

The incident Thursday took place after a robbery suspect was transported from the cells of the  Segundo Circuito Judicial in Goicoechea to the cells of the Primer Circuito downtown, the agency said. The purpose of the trip was to hold a meeting with     a prosecutor on the robbery allegation.

The judicial agency in a statement said that one of the jailers from Goicoechea became involved in an argument with the suspect outside a cell. A second jailer removed the handcuffs of the suspect, presumably to encourage a fight. The prisoner broke his left arm in the fight, the agency said.

Other judicial employees also were suspended because they did not try to stop the fight.

The court president also said that the judiciary would review the procedures for hiring persons to work as jailers.

Thursday the Poder Judicial said that the altercation in the cell area had been videotapes. The court president’s comments suggest that not all of the action was taped.

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