5,000 Women Sentenced to Prison Will Be Released in Colombia: What Is This Law About?

More than 5,000 female heads of households sentenced to prison sentences of eight years or less will begin to be released in Colombia. We tell you everything about this new rule from the Petro Government .

Women walking through the streets

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Leer en español: 5.000 mujeres condenadas a prisión quedarán en libertad en Colombia: ¿De qué se trata esta ley?

More than 5,000 female heads of households sentenced to prison sentences of eight years or less will begin to be released in Colombia performing social service or community work, as an alternative measure to their sentence.

This is contemplated in a decree from the Ministry of Justice that regulates the law signed by Colombian President Gustavo Petro on March 8 in Quibdó, the capital of the department of Chocó.

Decree 1451 was signed last Monday and aims to "regulate the provision of public utility services as a substitute penalty for prison."

According to the Government, the central point of the measure is to aim at "resocialization" and the "guarantee of human rights" of convicted women so that they can obtain a reduction in their custodial sentences.

The regulations of the law specify that the decree will not be valid for women who are convicted of using minors to commit crimes or domestic violence.

The document details that the women who can benefit from these benefits are those with sentences for crimes such as theft, aggravated theft, trafficking, manufacture or possession of narcotics, illicit use of furniture or real estate, among others.

The objectives of the decree

Another objective is to address the situation of the prison system, prioritize resocialization and respect for human rights as well as promote the inclusion of the reduction of deprivation of liberty , which is in the National Criminal Policy Plan.

At the time, President Petro explained that the objective of the law is to prevent "if they remain imprisoned and the children without their mother, those children grow up without affection and many, in the future, become criminals. That is "the logic of violence and exclusion, a kind of suicidal siphon. Well, here we cut that chain and ensure that these children have their mother."

In this, the head of state added, lies the importance of the sanctioned norm, "because it begins another way of doing things," while highlighting the importance of "the prisoners being reunited with their children, liberated, that love can occur and not be interrupted by chains; removing those chains between love is what allows us to be a better society.

High overcrowding

The Minister of Justice, Néstor Osuna, has said that the rule will apply only to women who have sentences of less than eight years and that in exchange they must provide unpaid public utility services that benefit the community and rebuild the social fabric that was affected. for the commission of the crime.

The alternative measures to prison contemplated by the law favor the reduction of recidivism and avoid the breaking of social and family ties , and the generation of stigma and discrimination.

Women are imprisoned in 45 prisons in the country, commonly held in improvised facilities within men's prisons. Only six establishments are designed to exclusively detain women and they are in Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Pereira, Armenia, Popayán and Manizales.

At the beginning of the 2020 period, the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute (Inpec) had more than 55% overcrowding, a population of 124,188 private prisoners, for 80,156 places, an overpopulation of 44,032 prisoners in the 132 penitentiary establishments of the country.

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