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Venezuela Govt Pledges to Reform Prisons

PRISONS / 22 JUN 2011 BY JEN SOKATCH EN

As the stand-off in a Venezuela prison continues, the government has pledged to invest in reforming the system.

Vice President Elias Jaua said President Hugo Chavez, currently in Cuba recuperating after an operation, had approved the plan to spend 413 million bolivares ($96 million) on prison reform.

This announcement comes in the midst of a stand-off in the Rodeo II prison, part of a complex located just outside of Caracas, where inmates took control after the government attempted to search the institution for weapons on Friday. A group of inmates are still holding out against 5,000 government troops.

The vice president reaffirmed the government’s commitment to restoring order in Rodeo II.

Venezuela’s prison system is has been plagued in recent months with violent riots and takeovers by prisoners, fueled by poor conditions and overcrowding.

On Tuesday a group of inmates who had reportedly been transferred from the Rodeo prisons climbed onto the roof of Puente Ayala prison, southeast of Caracas, to protest against the conditions. They declared that they would not go to court until the government resolves the situation in El Rodeo.

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