Chilean Prisoners: Denied Human Rights and a Voice


Chile has one of the highest incarceration rates of Latin America. However, according to the 2012 Human Rights Report from the University of Diego Portales, the country has the lowest number of violent crimes in the region.

This problem manifests in two ways: many basic needs of prisoners are ignored; meanwhile, they are unable to voice their concerns. It has become a public interest concern. For instance, on August 14 twenty-four prisoners were injured in a fire at the Penitentiary in Quillota. Three years earlier, a fire in San Miguel killed eighty-one.

The problem persists because the government does not recognize its fundamental role to protect all citizens, including incarcerated ones. In 2012, President Sebastián Piñera promised to build more jails in order to circumvent the evident prison overcrowding. Nevertheless, the treatment of the convicts themselves has improved little.

Prisoners are subject to torture, cruel and inhumane treatment. Any sense of rehabilitation is far from reality for Chilean inmates.

On the other hand, the 16th and 17th amendments of the Chilean constitution prohibit detainees from participating in the voting process. Thus, they lack a vehicle to improve their conditions—53,410 citizens are being disregarded. This is not the case in countries such as Canada, Iran, South Africa, and Ukraine.

It is evident Chile is not facilitating the successful reentry of its inmates into society. Not only are they being discriminated against, but they are often from the most marginalized areas of the country to begin with. Though these individuals may deserve to have their liberty restricted, it is indefensible to strip them of their dignity.

Follow me on Twitter @justinobrooks

Professor Justin Brooks
Director, California Innocence Project
California Western School of Law
225 Cedar Street
San Diego, CA 92101

For more information from the original article:

This photo is taken from:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s