Lawmakers go to prison . . . just for a quick tour

Eight lawmakers visited parts of the La Reforma prison in Alajuela Thursday to see first-hand the overcrowding.

They were members of the Comisión de Seguridad y Narcotráfico.

Their reactions were as expected.  Antonio Álvarez Desanti of the Partido Liberación  Nacional said the prison conditions were a time bomb. He also suggested changing the criminal laws so that thieves are not incarcerated. Instead he suggested the use of electronic bracelets.

Danny Hayling, a Liberación lawmaker from

Lawmakers and their escorts can hardly be seen amid the sea of prisoners.

Lawmakers and their escorts can hardly be seen amid the sea of prisoners.

Limón said that the conditions violate human rights.

The lawmakers were accompanied by the minister of Justicia, Cecilia Sánchez, and Reinaldo Villalobos, director of Adaptación Social, the ministry agency that runs the prisons.

The ministry officials are trying to gain support for a plan to release thousands of inmates before their time is up to ease overcrowding. The Sala IV constitutional court has ordered a solution.

Costa Rica has neglected its prisons for years, and expats who have been incarcerated tell chilling stories.

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