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New Uribana = old Uribana

The last few days have been really tense both inside and outside of Uribana Prison, near the city of Barquisimeto, where I live. This was where the second-worst prison riot in Venezuelan history took place, back in early 2013. The crisis started last week with the arrival of new warden Julio César Pérez, who decided to show his…

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Party in the C.P.A. (Tocorón Prison)

Remember the tale of Tokio discotheque, located inside Tocorón Prison in Aragua? Well, the prison night-club has returned to the headlines: an 18-year old girl died of a possible overdose of drugs and alcohol after a weekend-long party in that club. Can I just repeat that this nightclub is… inside a prison?! Back in 2012,…

The Battle of Sabaneta Prison Ends (Updated)

In the end, there was no final battle between Sabaneta Prison pran-in-chief “El Mocho Edwin” and State forces. Instead, all the remaining inmates were moved out over the weekend. “El Mocho” backed down on his earlier promise to stay inside Sabaneta no matter what. He was transferred in an armored vehicle to a military aircraft,…

The Battle of Sabaneta Prison, cont.

Sabaneta Prison remains tense, even after a large number of inmates have been transferred to other prisons. Yesterday, the major pran of Sabaneta, “El Mocho Edwin”, made an appereance on the prison’s rooftop, asking for dialogue. Hours earlier, a member of the Prisons Ministry was “allowed” in to Sabaneta to negotiate directly with the pran himself.…

The Battle of Sabaneta Prison

For the second time in a month, a serious spasm of violence convulsed Sabaneta Prison in Maracaibo. The toll this time: 16 people dead. At the center of the violence is a major pran (prison gang boss) who’s known as “El Mocho Edwin”, who took uncontested power of the prison recently. In a garish Syrian twist,…

Bronze medal in prison overcrowding

The Economist posted this chart today about prison overcrowding around the world. Only Haiti and the Philippines have a higher rate of overcrowding than Venezuela. Also, the country’s data sheet from the International Centre for Prison Studies indicate that the total number of inmates in our penitenciary system doubled between 2008 and 2012. The consequences of…