International Human Rights Representatives Appreciate the transparency of the Salvadoran prison system

International representatives of Human Rights Attorneys and participants in the First Ibero-American Summit on Human Rights congratulated the public servants of El Salvador for their openness and transparency regarding “the problems, the measures taken and the challenges” in the prison system of El Salvador, where they seek to ensure that the “respect and guarantee of human rights” of those deprived of liberty prevail.

The delegates made a visit on Sunday, August 21, to the maximum security phase III penitentiary center and the Penitentiary Farm, in Izalco, Sonsonate, and reported that the Salvadoran authorities detailed the mechanism in terms of security, life, health, recreation, and diet .

“Authorities of the prison system of El Salvador reported in detail on the infrastructure conditions in which ventilation and natural lighting and physical and mental health care have been improved […] they communicated the existence of clinical files of the inmates in which it appears the clinical picture, they provided data on the hygiene and cleaning supplies that are supplied to the private sector,” according to a joint statement from the foreign prosecutors.

In the document they added that, on the right to food, “such an important issue and that is very cohesive with the right to health and life, they reported on the type of balanced food that prisoners receive from the system during the three times and the supplies of special diets previously prescribed by doctors».

The delegates, who were guided by the head of the Directorate of Penal Centers, Osiris Luna, were also able to verify the protection of women deprived of liberty in the Penitentiary Farm: «a percentage of them with children and others in conditions of pregnancy have treatment and specialized attention. In addition, the incarcerated “are developed in social insertion programs”.

The attorneys will remain in the country until Wednesday, when the summit ends, which is coordinated by the Office of the Attorney for the Defense of Human Rights, PDDH.

Reintegration opportunities

The current administration of Penal Centers has bet on the transformation of prisons, which were under the control of gangs during previous governments. One of the flagship projects is the Zero Leisure Plan, which has been created so that 100% of inmates carry out work that is useful to the community and to avoid prison idleness.

Approximately 40% of the prison population has benefited from this program. Every day, 2,000 inmates leave the different prisons to support more than 50 work commissions in community activities.

In addition, maintaining control, order, and discipline in prisons has been one of the missions of the current administration. They have achieved this by constantly carrying out searches, supervising signal blocking, and rearranging gang members according to their dangerousness. It is the first government that has not faced any kind of mutiny in recent decades.

“Previous governments ceded power inside the prisons and gave privileges to the gangs. With the arrival of President Nayib Bukele, severe measures were taken in the prison system, such as the dismantling of organized crime; we eliminated the exclusive prisons of a single gang, strategic and selective searches; and the blocking of the telephone signal”, said the director of Centers Penalties, Osiris Luna Meza.

Under the exceptional regime, a measure initiated last March to weaken and disrupt terrorist structures, the authorities have detained more than 50,500 gang members nationwide. Of these, approximately 45,000 are already in provisional prison, which has increased the prison population. However, the Security and Penitentiary System authorities have reiterated that despite this and the strict security measures that have been ordered, human rights are guaranteed inside the prisons.