Thousands of prisoners face quick release to reduce overcrowding

The nation’s prison administrators are continuing with a plan to release some 5,000 convicts to ease overcrowding. The released individuals will either serve the rest of their sentence in their home or they will be residients of a shelter where they sleep every night. Some will be able to find jobs.

The project is far from certain. There is opposition growing to the plan. The nation’s prisons for men are overcrowded, in part because of jailings for failing to pay child support and because the court system is slow. Some individuals have been jailed before trial for 19 months or more. The female prison is not overcrowded but it is at capacity.

A high percentage of the inmates are there because of drug crimes.

Many of the female inmates are jailed because they were caught smuggling drugs into their male partners or friends.

Prison officials have said that those who are released will be inmates who do not pose a threat to society, and they are in the process of creating lists of those who are to be released.

Most of the country’s prisons resemble zoos with more than one person assigned to a bed.  Expats who have been put in prison have complained about conditions in letters and articles in A.M. Costa Rica.

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