Panama’s notorious hell-hole prisons will have adjustments better access to drinking water, health, and communication with their families, in the midst of the coronavirus health crisis due to the coronavirus crisis
The moves come after two escape attempts the La Joya prison in less than five days The first was on March 20, and the second on Wednesday, March 25.
In both cases, inmates demanded more attention to prevent the spread of the virus within prison facilities.
Authorities from the Ministry of Government (Mingob), and from the Ministry of Health determined that no new entrants will be allowed to enter the penitentiaries directly without going through strict health protocols, and an isolation period of 15 days, in an area equipped for that purpose.
A Ministry document on Thursday, March 26 said that the suspension of all external visits is maintained and strict health measures are ordered for the custodians and administrative personnel of the penitentiary centers. They will be given alcohol gel and masks.
"Family members of those deprived of their liberty will continue to bring belongings and dry food to prisons nationwide (on the day that the visit is due, although they will not have any contact with the inmates), strictly complying with the Minsa regulations, using the last number of their ID ”is said a press release.
The possibility of reducing the sentence of the prison population with diseases is also being evaluated. Prisoners over 60 with chronic illnesses, who are over 60 years of age, and who have complied with the requirements of good conduct, rates of rehabilitation, compliance with prison regulations and two thirds of their sentence, would be released.
Technical Boards of all Female rehabilitation centers will process a list of those deprived of liberty who are pregnant, are mothers of dependent children, comply with the requirements of good conduct, rates of rehabilitation, compliance with prison regulations and two-thirds of their sentence.
"As a preventive and sanitary measure, access to water was increased in the penitentiary centers through tank cars and the supply of soaps, to ensure the washing of hands of those deprived of liberty," said the press release.