Caracas, July 14th 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Efforts to reduce procedural delays in prisoners’ right to stand trial will continue through the extension of Plan “Cayapa”, Minister of Penitentiary Services Iris Valera announced in a meeting with public officials in the Cojedes state yesterday.
Launched as an initiative under President Nicolas Maduro, the plan attempts to address Venezuela’s long-standing problem with overcrowding in its prisons. In 2012 prisons housed an estimated 48,000 inmates, roughly three times their capacity, according to the Caracas-based NGO Venezuelan Prison Observatory (OVP).
“We have encountered cases of prisoners who have gone up to four years without a trial, disabled people, sick people, elderly ones, and women. We are working to treat the cases that merit parole or a conditional suspension of a sentence, because that is what the law warrants,” Valera said.
Relying on officials from the Ministry of Penitentiary Services, as well as those from the offices of the Attorney General, the plan calls for “Judicial Cayapas” (team work) at individual prisons throughout the country, most recently in the town of San Carlos in Cojedes.
The cayapas involve public lawyers visiting the prisoners and their families, interviewing them, analyzing their cases, and attending to those cases where a prison has not yet received trial. The cayapa team also provides other services to the prisoners, including looking at education, work, and rehabilitation opportunities, and economic help for the families.
During yesterday’s efforts in San Carlos, officials attended to 267 cases, with 38 prisoners being released, according to Cojedes state police.
Valera added that she would soon present a proposal to increase the production of poultry and pork in prisons to ensure their supply throughout the country.
The “Judicial Cayapas” scheduled to run through October, will next move to several detention centers in Miranda state.