The Government of Ecuador is considering the possibility of granting over 2,000 pardons to cut down on the country's jail population after this week's riot in a Guayaquil detention facility which resulted in 118 deaths.
Bolívar Garzón, head of Ecuador's Prison Department, Friday explained the measure was being eyed for the elderly, the disabled and the terminally ill. The country's prisons currently house some 39,000 inmates, according to official data. Female prisoners would also be prioritized, it was reported.
Garzón said that the riot, the latest in a wave of prison violence in the Andean country, was caused by a struggle for control of the power of organized crime groups. This year's riots had also left 79 dead in February and 22 in July in various prisons across the country. In September, a penitentiary was attacked by drones, but no fatalities were reported.
Officials have said that the gangs have alliances with transnational criminal groups and that they fight over drug trafficking routes.
Ecuador has seen several outbreaks of violence in its prisons in recent months, as officials say gangs working with transnational criminal groups are battling over drug trafficking routes.
The Government has sent 3,600 police and military reinforcements to prisons across the country to maintain order, Interior Minister Alexandra Vela told reporters Friday. She added that forensic units had identified 41 of the victims from Tuesday’s events the bodies of 21 of the victims had been handed over to their families.