Liberia Penitentiary Houses 500 More Inmates Than It Should

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Currently, prison overcrowding in Costa Rica is at 37%. However, in Liberia the situation is even worse at 67.9%. With 1256 being held there, the center has 508 more prisoners above capacity, according to Carmen Vargas Hernandez, spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice.   

The Citizen Action party (PAC), the Public Defender (Defensoría de los Habitantes) and the National Association of Public and Private Employees (ANEP) joined forces to request that the government improve infrastructure in the national prisons to address the problem of overcrowding, according to Carmen Muñoz, PAC legislator.

Regarding the possibility of improving infrastructure in Liberia, Vargas said they are waiting for a resolution from the General Comptroller of the Republic to build two medium-security modules in Liberia’s penitentiary with capacity to house 80 people each. “At the same time, they are conducting technical evaluations to identify which prisoners have the conditions to serve their sentences in a lower security environment,” she added.

In Nicoya, which has a semi-institutionalized facility, there are no problems with overcrowding because only 34 of the 99 people under supervision there have to be physically present in the facility full time. The others can leave but have to present themselves weekly, every two weeks or monthly, according to supervisor Marcelino Rosales Enriquez. With a total of 60 beds at the facility, they have room available.