How much is a room at La Victoria hell of a jail?
It is known as hell, but reporters now say that more than RD$3 million a week buys certain privileges in the La Victoria Jail in northern Santo Domingo, according to findings in a study carried out by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH). The CNDH says the business is good, especially given that there is no employee or taxation costs. The owners of the business are the inmates and persons of influence in the jail.
The report estimates on average inmates pay RD$400 a week for their cell, meaning only in rentals some RD$3 million are generated each week for those in control, based on a prison population of around 8,000 inmates.
CNDH says that the Public Ministry has refused to receive their report on the bribery going on at the jail. The entity advocates for the shut down of the General Department of Prisons and the passing of La Victoria Jail to the new prison model used at several other jails where these internal business transactions have been reduced to a minimum. In 2014, there were 8,055 inmates at the La Victoria Jail of a total of 26,350 inmates in the country.
As reported in Acento, when a new inmate arrives to the jail, payments of RD$500 to RD$30,000 are required prior to being assigned a cell. The minimum fee for a bed in a cell is RD$250, but these go for up to RD$1,500. On the upper end, there are rooms that go for RD$25,000 and others that cost RD$300,000 for the right to stay there.
In the area known as F1, the beds cost between RD$40,000 and RD$50,000 for the right to share a room with five or six other persons. A jail officer may profit from the sale of the bed if this is not earlier negotiated by the person leaving the jail.
Inmates also need to purchase their food from vendors in the jail or have it brought to them. The “chao” or food provided in the jail is considered only fit for dogs. It is delivered to the cells in buckets, giving the impression that the jailers are feeding slop to hogs.
Most of those serving time in La Victoria are men between the ages of 19 to 35 years, and many have sentenced to jail for 20-30 years. The jail was built for 2,500 prisoners, but regularly houses up to 8,000.
The director general of Prisons, Tomas Holguin La Paz denied that trading in privileges inside the jail exists. Nevertheless, he said the management of the jail does not intervene in the deals that the inmates carry out. La Paz observed that inmates are allowed two visits a week.
He called for Manuel Maria Mercedes, president of the DNDH, to provide names of those who are in business of extortion in the jail.
Source: DR1, Acento
July 15, 2016
Category: DR News |