Did the Chavez Government purposedly increase the prison population to control crime?

June 21, 2011

El Mundo published the graph above (click twice on it to see it with good definition) about how the prison population has increased during the Chavez years. As you can see, there was a drop off right off the bat, which arose from the approval of the COPP (Codigo Organico de Ordenamiento Procesal) in 1998 and its changes since then, which essentially made it easier to be tried in freedom or not be held in prison if the trial had not taken place within a certain period of time. This part was fairly easy to understand.

What was not clear though, was the sudden and steady rise in the number of prisoners starting in 2006. After five years in which the prison population remained essentially unchanged, there is a clear and constant uptrend. The only possible explanation for this, is that this was on purpose. Faced with a soaring crime rate, the Chavez Government ordered that COPP rules be tightened and  more criminals be imprisones as they were tried or not to release them, as a way of controlling crime.

Given the control of the Government over the judiciary this is not such a crazy idea, it would have been a fairly easy way to at least slow down the sharp increase in crime which together with inflation is considered to be the worst problem in polls by Venezuelans. In fact, the Government had made plans to build 25 new prisons from 2006 to 2010, only two of which were actually completed. Thus, the Government really was trying to do something about the number one problem for the people, but it got trapped in its own inefficiencies and incompetence.

And the Government continues fumbling the problem today. Rather than investigate how the weapons got into the prisons and the mafias involved in prison security and corruption, the Human Rights division of the Prosecutor’s office announced today that it will look into the role played by Human Rights ONG’s in the violence and events of the El Rodeo prison over the last two weeks.

It truly is the world upside down under Chavez in Venezuela.

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22 Responses to “Did the Chavez Government purposedly increase the prison population to control crime?”

  1. url.gen.in Says:

    – Ensuring sufferers do their regular physical exercise and supporting wherein needed.
    Note that you don’t need a high school diploma
    or GED to enter into online CNA training. Phlebotomists can work at hospitals, plasma centers, blood labs and doctor’s offices.

  2. join Says:

    This makes great sense..

  3. moctavio Says:

    But the crime rate soared before the rise in people incarcerated. There should not be such a delay.

  4. Roque Says:

    I’m not sure I understand what’s the surprising part here–if there’s a soaring crime rate, doesn’t one expect to see a soaring incarceration rate as well?

  5. RWG Says:

    Chavez is a complete egoist. He believes that he tell the nation and World what to do and it will happen. He is all talk and no action. This even extends to his own health. He says he is healthy but the truth is he is sick. Talking about good health does not make him healthy. He cannot take action to save himself from sickness.

  6. Juancho Says:

    In fact, the Government had made plans to build 25 new prisons from 2006 to 2010, only two of which were actually completed. Thus, the Government really was trying to do something about the number one problem for the people, but it got trapped in its own inefficiencies and incompetence.
    ————————-

    Isolating out individual situations like prison rhubarbs, power and water failures, banking fiascos, blah blah blah is in my opinion looking at the worsening symptoms, and not the basic malady. Note that in the above, plans were drawn for 25 new prisons. The reason that such talk is ridiculed is because the most spectacular kind of incompetence had made government promises pure and utter bullshit, almost catagorically.

    The country is now surviving almost entirely on the structure and stability of the private sector.

    Juancho

  7. LD Says:

    Sorry, I write the link without the www, so it has to be put together (to avoid the delay until published)
    http://www.globovision.com/news.php?nid=192861 is the link as it is.

  8. moctavio Says:

    Yeah, that’s what I meant, the Government oredered the COPP not be used as efficiently so as to keep people in prison as a way to reduce crime.

  9. Kepler Says:

    LD, link ain’t valid

  10. An Interested Observer Says:

    Miguel, bobthebuilder nailed it, and Gringo said something similar – it’s not about the crime rate, it’s about the courts. I’ll bet arrests are not rising so dramatically, it’s just the number of people awaiting trial. As you noted in your previous post, 72% of the prison population is awaiting trial.

    One thing pushing this trend up is probably the Afiuni factor. Remember why she was thrown in jail? Because she released someone who had been in jail too long – according to the law – for someone who had never been tried. The intolerable part of that decision was not that she released a common criminal, but a (Chavez-designated) Enemy of the State. But you can hardly blame judges for taking the lesson to an extreme.

  11. LD Says:

    I’m again with the Contralor-issue, Globovision hat a summary about the election procedure:
    http://www... globovision.com/news.php?nid=192861

  12. Roberto N Says:

    “It might be possible that some malandros are fingering some innocent people for the crimes- which implies police complicity for arresting them- which enables some malandros to keep free on the outside, doing their thing: robbing, kidnapping, and murdering.”

    More like the innocent don’t need the malandros to finger them, they just couldn’t or wouldn’t “get off the mule” (bribe) the cops who showed up on their doorstep.

    That the pranes determine who goes to court and who doesn’t is even scarier.

    Look at the COPP, which in theory got rid of the 8 day holding period as was before the COPP. If you were arrested, pre COPP, they could hold you for up to 8 days before charging you with a crime. There were manipulations that enabled them to hold you for more than 8 days, but it took some wrangling and such to do so.

    Post COPP, you are supposed to be tried in freedom if the crime is not a major one. So what happens now is that unless you are connected, or you cannot afford to “get off the mule”, (or they have it in for you a la Capriles) you fall into the hands of the pranes, and your Kafkian journey begins.

  13. Gringo Says:

    Roberto N
    On the prison thing, it is nothing short of amazing that despite the crackdown and sharp rise on the prisoner population that the current “administration” has not been able to get a handle on the crime problem.

    Most of those in prison are awaiting trial. It might be possible that some malandros are fingering some innocent people for the crimes- which implies police complicity for arresting them- which enables some malandros to keep free on the outside, doing their thing: robbing, kidnapping, and murdering.

    The cases of the jailed innocents don’t go to trial because the powers to be know they would be found innocent. A further twist could be that those who got thrown in jail for a crime they didn’t commit, to await trial, are malandros of a different degree. They are guilty of a number of crimes, just not the crimes they got jailed for to await trial.

  14. Roberto N Says:

    Makled is at the Helicoide Hilton. He has been charged with money laundering, associating to commit crimes, murder and extortion.

    Carson: Santos and Chavez reached an accommodation. Makled to Caracas instead of New York, Chavez facilitates payments owed to the merchants in Colombia that had around $800 million repressed by the currency exchange controls, and re-activates commerce between the two countries (which is heavily in Colombia’s favor)

    Chavez has to pursue any FARC or ELN figure found on Venezuelan soil and show that he is denying them a breathing space when they run from Colombia.

    In return, Santos does not divulge more info he still has which probably would earn Chavez a seat at the Hague. This is probably the seed of discord between Santos and Uribe, since Uribe probably preferred to go straight to the Hague, consequences be dammed.

    On the prison thing, it is nothing short of amazing that despite the crackdown and sharp rise on the prisoner population that the current “administration” has not been able to get a handle on the crime problem.

  15. m_astera Says:

    BruceCarson-

    The Raul Reyes files and the fact that Colombia was holding Walid Makled, who the US wanted to extradite. If Makled had gone to the US and sung, hugito well knew there would be a sh*tstorm.

    Anyone have any updates on Makled?

  16. geha714 Says:

    Did the Chavez Government purposedly increase the prison population to control crime?

    If they did that, it totally backfired.

  17. BruceCarson2008 Says:

    By the way this is beside the point of this post but I dont know where else to ask it. Do you think it is possible that Hugo Chavez has started cracking down on FARC because he is being blackmailed with the Reyes laptop files? It would explain the betrayal of some of their operatives by Hugo.

  18. LD Says:

    By the way, if Chávez don’t say a word today… (and I mean say, not twitter or something like that)…

  19. LD Says:

    As the Contralor has died:

    w… .abn.info.ve/node/63668
    El artículo 279 de la Constitución Bolivariana de Venezuela establece que el Consejo Moral Republicano deberá convocar un Comité de Evaluación de Postulaciones del Poder Ciudadano para adelantar un proceso público, a los fines de escoger una terna de candidatos, la cual será sometida ante la plenaria de la Asamblea Nacional.

    Este Comité de Evaluación de Postulaciones del Poder Ciudadano estará integrado por representantes de diversos sectores de la sociedad.

    La Carta Magna venezolana estipula que el Parlamento, mediante el voto favorable de las dos terceras partes de sus integrantes (110 diputado), “escogerá en un lapso no mayor de treinta días continuos, al o a la titular del órgano del Poder Ciudadano que esté en consideración. Si concluido este lapso no hay acuerdo en la Asamblea Nacional, el Poder Electoral someterá la terna a consulta popular”.

    Sin embrago, la Constitución también establece que, en caso de no haber sido convocado el Comité de Evaluación de Postulaciones del Poder Ciudadano, la Asamblea Nacional procederá, dentro del plazo que determine la ley, a la designación del titular o la titular del órgano del Poder Ciudadano correspondiente.

    Any chance for the opposition? I see a lot of ifs, but if it has to be decided by an election? I hope the opposition works this right and get an anti-corruption Contralor elected.

  20. bobthebuilder Says:

    An alternative explanation for the rising prison population would be that the legal system was processing cases slower than ever. Either way, there doesn’t appear to be any relationship between a rising prison population and lower crime rates.

  21. George Best Says:

    It truly is the world upside down under Chavez in Venezuela

    Yes Sir – that is the only LESSON ! T H E O N L Y ONE… All other are nonsense, butshit, horseshit and a WASTE OF TIME… until when ?

    VERY SOON YOU WILL SEE A RESULT, A CHANGE, A DAWN…. but not because OF O U R

    EFFORTS…. at all….


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