“This will be their new home, where they will live for decades without being able to cause more harm to the population,” President Naib Bukele wrote on the social network Twitter (blocked in the Russian Federation).
Located 74 kilometers from the capital of El Salvador, the prison is a real city, whose blocks (blocks) are isolated from each other. Its surface is 23 hectares. The penitentiary is surrounded by a wall, the length of which is more than 2 kilometers.
The transfer of the prisoners to a new prison, officially called the Terrorist Detention Center, was another step taken by the authorities of the Central American country as part of a strategy to combat crime. Since March last year, the state of emergency has been in force in the country (it was extended several times by decision of parliament). Police detained more than 64.5 thousand suspected gang ties (and only 3.87 thousand were later released). The prisons were overcrowded.
Some human rights organizations claim that innocent people have been affected by this policy, but the campaign against crime has received broad support from the people of El Salvador. According to representatives of the Cabinet of Ministers, it will continue until all criminals are caught.
“The gang members now have what they deserve, a sentence that they must serve in a maximum security prison. Thanks to this security policy, there will be fewer criminals and more security on the streets,” said congressman Giovanni Saldanha.
According to the authorities of El Salvador, thanks to the state of emergency, which has already been extended 11 times, in 2022 the number of murders in the country was halved, from 1,211 in 2021 to 615. The decrease in the number of this type of crimes was recorded for the first time since 2016.
In several high-security prisons in El Salvador, the families of detainees must buy food and basic necessities for their relatives who are serving sentences in prison stores. Previously, they could send all this in packages, but now it is prohibited, for security reasons. The cost of such a kit for a month is approximately $170. The need to buy food arose last spring, when authorities began rationing food for prisoners in order to influence gangs to stop killing.