Guillermo Lasso, Ecuador’s President has pardoned several inmates to improve security and reduce overcrowding at prisons that were shaken by the recent violent riots.
A statement issued by the General Secretary of Communication of the Presidency on Tuesday said the move was taken “To ensure that inmates’ rights are protected, take appropriate measures to improve prison security and peace..”
The statement said the presidential pardons were granted to inmates “Under some conditions.”
A pardon will be granted to several categories of prisoner, such as those who are terminally or seriously ill or those who were involved in traffic offenses that didn’t cause injury or death. However, the statement didn’t specify how many would be released.
The decision was made as part of the government’s plan to tackle drug trafficking-related gang violence in prisons.
The latest riot took place in mid-November and resulted in the death of 68 people at the Litoral Penitentiary in Guayaquil’s suburbs. In September, 115 Latin American prisoners were killed in a riot that was called the worst ever recorded.
Ecuador’s 65 prisons house around 39,000 inmates, with a capacity for only 30,000. Since 2005, Ecuador’s prisons have seen the death of nearly 300 prisoners.
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