Salvadoran Prelate Decries "Sub-Human" Prisons

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, MAY 4, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The archbishop of San Salvador is reiterating a call to government officials to improve the conditions in the nation’s jails so that human dignity is not violated.

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El Salvador has witnessed riots in several of its national prisons over the last weeks, as prisoners protest the living conditions. Several have been wounded in the demonstrations, and there have been deaths reported.

The outcry is linked in part to overcrowding. According to one report, as many as 23,000 Salvadorans are in the country’s 19 jails; however capacity is estimated at only 8,000. About a dozen of these jails have been the sites of the riots.

Speaking at a press conference last Sunday, Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas said: «It is a public clamor, a public voice, that life in our prisons is sub-human and that it must be improved, it must be revised.»
 
He acknowledged that the state must maintain order, but affirmed that prisoners have not lost their «elementary rights as persons and it seems that the treatment they are receiving not just today but always is not appropriate.»

The prelate called for a prison system «in keeping with the times in which we are living, the 21st century.»

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