In Venezuela, the criminal Justice System does not work equally for everybody. It takes away the Rights of the poorest and most vulnerable members of the society. Thousands of women, most awaiting trial and presumed innocent, are expected to be held for 45 days, but Venezuela's crises has rendered this notion a memory.
The situation inside the detention centers is a nightmare. They are dark, hot, overcrowded and claustrophobic. Prisoners receive no food, water or medical attention. Some are abandoned by their families and require help from the outside to survive.
Women are not separated from men (let alone transgenders and minors). There is no separation between convicted criminals and people awaiting trial. Pregnant women present infections and loss of placenta, a life threatening complication.
Living under these conditions does not allow rehabilitation. “When we get out of here [the jail], if we do, we will be worse people than we were before prison”, said Yorkelis (21), who was detained two years ago. She calls “Chinatown”, a one-cell-only prison overcrowded with 60 women, her home.
Some of these women are victims of abuse in the family or coercion by men to commit a crime. The reason of their detentions are drug related, robbery or of political nature. Erika Palacios, is the first woman accused for the “Law against hate”, which forbids any protest against the government.
The Venezuelan and Latinamerican society must learn about the suffering of the incarcerated population in order to help remedy some of these problems.