Attempted break-in an embarrassment

A 26-year-old crook from Ticabán has been thrust into the limelight and has become an embarrassment for prison officials.

The man with the last name of  Sequeira was caught trying to break into a soda Nov. 19. A flagrancy judge in the Tribunal de Flagrancia de Pococí gave him five months Friday.

But that was the least of his problems. It turns out that the man received early release on a five-year robbery sentence. So he has also put into the limelight the policies of the Instituto Nacional de Criminología that supervises such releases.

The institute said Monday that Sequeira was sentenced to five years in September 2014, but he was released to what is known as a semi-institutional setting last October.

He was supposed to live with his mother and work as a radio dispatcher for a taxi company. Usually in a semi-institutional setting felons may only spend one night a week in custody.

The Instituto Nacional de Criminología said in a statement that the man is the only person who has benefited from a specific program of early release who has been convicted of a new crime.

The program went into effect in late August after a Sala IV constitutional court ruling said that the prison population must be reduced.

Under the plan some 570 prisoners are being moved from prisons to the semi-institutional settings. The program is controversial.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the institute and the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz has suspended the transfers for December, ostensibly because key persons are on vacation.

Meanwhile, Sequeira has been remanded to prison to complete the remainder of his robbery sentence and the five months for the attempted break-in, said the institute.

The institute said that from 2006 to 2014, 313 of 10,477 persons in these semi-institutional settings committed another crime.

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