HomeNewsBrief95 Percent of Suspects Freed After Arrest: Peru Minister
BRIEF

95 Percent of Suspects Freed After Arrest: Peru Minister

PERU / 10 APR 2015 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER AND KYRA GURNEY EN

Officials in Peru have expressed concern about the lack of incarceration for suspected criminals after the Interior Minister revealed that fewer than five percent of those arrested end up in jail.

At a press conference on April 7, Interior Minister Jose Luis Perez Guadalupe stated that of the 992 people detained by the national police's Directorate of Criminal Investigation (Dirincri) in January and February in capital city Lima, only 42 are currently behind bars, reported El Comercio.

Perez added that the majority of the people arrested by the Dirincri had been caught in the act of committing a crime, and called the fact that only five percent end up in jail an "enormous failure," reported Peru 21.

To illustrate his point, Perez referred to an incident that occurred on April 1, when five assassins attacked the passengers of a Porsche with grenades and machine guns. As it turns out, two of the men involved in the attack had been arrested for drug and illegal weapons possession in November 2014, but were later allowed to go free while under investigation.

Perez stated that he would meet with Peru's Attorney General and other officials to determine whether or not the low incarceration rate was linked to corruption.

InSight Crime Analysis

The number of suspected criminals released after arrest in Peru highlights weaknesses in both the country's judiciary system and police force.

As suggested by Perez, considering the fact that most of the arrested suspects were reportedly caught red handed, the lack of incarceration could be linked to corruption. Examples of police misconduct abound in Peru. In a period of just one month last year, 200 police came under investigation for ties to a criminal network allegedly run by a former coronel, and over 20 were fired for allegedly collaborating with a drug trafficking organization. Police Director Jorge Flores recently stated that 9,720 police officers were sanctioned in 2014 -- 428 of them for corruption, reported La Republica. So far this year, a total of 2,625 police officers have been sanctioned.

The number of suspects freed after arrest also points to weaknesses in the country's judicial system. Both Peruvian and US officials have expressed concern about judicial corruption, with Peru's top anti-narcotics prosecutor stating last year that criminal organizations have infiltrated the judicial system.

SEE ALSO: Peru News and Profiles

In addition to allowing suspected criminals to run free and potentially commit other crimes, the Dirincri's low incarceration rate also creates other problems such as providing a disincentive for potential witnesses to cooperate with prosecutors for fear of retaliation.

However, the other extreme -- indiscriminately using pre-trial detention -- presents its own set of issues. According to a report by the Open Society Justice Initiative of the Open Society Foundations, over 40 percent of all prisoners in Latin America are being held without a trial. The excessive use of pre-trial detention contributes to rampant overcrowding in prisons throughout the region and often violates the rights of suspects. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 7 APR 2021

Illegal gold mining is devastating South America's jungles. The trade has been destroying large swaths of forest and flooding rivers…

DRUG POLICY / 20 APR 2021

Ecuador’s next president will face an unprecedented set of security challenges, as prison violence has soared to record levels, the…

ECUADOR / 14 FEB 2022

Peru has convicted a gang of shark fin traffickers for the first time in history but more is needed to…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…