Corrections employees denounce parties for prison inmates
By The Star Staff
Employees of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation charged in a televised report Sunday that the agency is allowing maximum security inmates to have parties at a time when there are questions about the lack of security at prisons.
Jessica Martínez, head of the Alianza Correccional Unida, denounced inmates being allowed to have parties complete with food trucks and barbecues.
She said the maximum security prison in Ponce recently held a pizza party with more than 200 boxes of pizza, while the Bayamón 1072 prison held a pool party. Martínez asked who was financing the parties and questioned whether there were sufficient prison guards keeping an eye on the inmates.
A spokeswoman for the group Prison Families, Milagros Rivera, said the parties were organized because the inmates have been in prison a long time. She said she was sure that enough guards were on hand considering that the facilities in question are maximum security prisons.
Rivera noted the constitutioånal requirement that the agency must ensure the rehabilitation of inmates.
But Martínez said the inmates in Ponce have all declined to have drug tests.
“And they are rewarded with a pizza party,” she told Telemundo.
She added that the correctional system needs at least 800 new prison guards because at present the guard force often must work double shifts.
The claims come a week after cargo containing some 50 kilos of cocaine was found at the Sargento Pedro Joel Rodríguez Matos prison, known as the Las Cucharas jail, in Ponce.