The ACAIP union warns that Valencian prisons do not have enough space for inmates who, for fear of not being able to subsist in the streets, are rejecting the ‘third grade’ provisional freedom.
The situation is so desperate that prisoners also ask their lawyers not to seek bail for them, because in the street they have nothing. Moreover, some inmates waive their freedom rights, since if they stay six months behind bars and if they have dependants, they may be entitled to a small unemployment benefit when they are released.
Inmates ask their lawyers not to seek bail to prolong their stay in prison, police report. Having a job is no longer a requirement for the granting of the ‘third grade,’ although it may help. And those who agree to go out fail to find employment and voluntarily re-jail themselves because “there is no reason to go back out,” explained union sources.
The prisons of the province of Alicante exceed 150% capacity of accommodating prisoners, according to a report on the situation in Acaip Valencian prisons.
A national problem
The problem of prisoners who did not want to leave for the wider ‘society prison’ exacerbates a situation throughout Spain. The number of prisoners and the length of stay in prison has doubled in two decades to saturate prisons. According to data from Inside, the number of prisoners in Spain has soared over the past 20 years to move from the 33,058 it had in 1990 to 73,929 in 2010, ie more than double.
With a whole raft of draconian control laws now being implemented by the far right regime the prison population is set to explode even further.
Spain has already become the Western European country with the highest percentage of itspopulation in prison, with 159 prisoners per 100,000 population compared with the European average of 96, according to the Ministry of Interior. Only countries like Montenegro, Latvia or Lithuania exceed Spanish rates.
The prison overcrowding occurs not only due to the increase in the prison population, but also the lengthening of their sentences.
The hardening of the Criminal Code has made the average stay in prison double in two decades, to move to the current 18 months, triple our neighboring countries and twice the EU average.
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