AMERICA/COLOMBIA - The pandemic has aggravated overcrowding and unhealthy conditions in prisons

Monday, 25 May 2020 prisoners   coronavirus   solidarity  


Bogota (Agenzia Fides) - The National Secretariat of the Social Pastoral Care - Colombian Caritas (SNPS-CC) is following with deep concern the complex health emergency that has in particular affected the prisons in the country. The Catholic Church has long denounced the critical situation in prisons, without any progress in the promised solutions. In the statement sent to Fides, Mgr. Héctor Fabio Henao, Director of the SNPS-CC, notes "with pain, that the pandemic has aggravated the overcrowding and unhealthy conditions already present in these centers. Therefore, reclling the words of the Lord in the Gospel, the SNPS-CC asks all of us to be sensitive to the drama they are experiencing and to visit them with our solidarity".
Mgr. Héctor Fabio Henao therefore calls for solidarity across the country, towards people deprived of their liberty, their families, administrative staff, guards and those who are responsible for assisting this population. "The humanitarian crisis must be addressed in correctional facilities, with measures that respect human dignity and protect the health of prisoners", working for the humanization of prison centers. Therefore, the Director stresses that overcrowding must be addressed with detainee redistribution programs, as it is necessary to find solutions for mothers with children under the age of three, those with pre-existing diseases and those who, due to their age, are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. Finally, he draws attention to the situation in police stations and the risk faced by law enforcement and detainees in these centers, where conditions of health and social distancing cannot be observed. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 25/5/2020)