There are two prison directors threatened with death without a security scheme: INPEC union

There are two prison directors threatened with death without a security scheme: INPEC union
There are two prison directors threatened with death without a security scheme: INPEC union

05:56 AM

Óscar Robayo is the guardian of INPEC and has been for 22 years. At the same time, he is the president of the National Union of Penitentiary Workers, which is the institution’s largest union, whose employees are dedicated to caring for the most dangerous criminals in the country within penitentiary centers. His voice has been known by several governments to demand better conditions for guards and change prison models due to the problem of overcrowding and the lack of guarantees for inmates as well.

He assures in an interview with EL COLOMBIANO that there are at least two other prison directors who are threatened with death without a security plan due to the delay of the National Protection Unit. And he says that he himself had a scheme withdrawn in January despite having a specific threat. After the murder of Colonel Elmer Fernández on 30th Avenue in Bogotá last Thursday, there was a sequence of new threats that included pamphlets to guards with canines at the El Buen Pastor women’s prison. The events add to the critical public order situation that the country is experiencing with the attacks by FARC dissidents in Cauca and Valle.

How have the INPEC guards received what has happened in recent weeks with the murder of Colonel Fernández and other guards in various regions of the country?

The structural problem that INPEC has is not even behind bars. The truth is that in these 18 months of the Government we have seen a transformation of the system with the implementation of the domino operation and the leadership of the general director of INPEC and the Minister of Justice.

They have changed establishment directors and made institution appointments for career officials. As a result, this has put an end to so much permissiveness that existed in prisons; Let’s remember the Matamba escape, the Carlos Mattos scandal and what could happen in the security pavilions, which has decreased considerably.

There has been control and work hand in hand with the Government and Inpec officials. This also affected some criminal gangs and their bosses who do not lose criminal power within the prisons and ends up having an impact on the employees and managers behind bars. The criminal gangs realized that we are the weakest link and do not have the necessary protection from the State. In the case of the driver who was transporting Colonel Fernández, that companion does not have escort duties. He was transporting it because it is an institutional vehicle. We are very afraid of the consequences of this domino plan.

How many INPEC guards and executives have been murdered in the last few months?

This year we have five. Four guards and the director of the Modelo prison. In total between last year and this there are 16. In six years there have been 56 murders and more or less 400 threats.

And with those figures, do you consider that the Petro Government is doing well?

In six years, 56 have been murdered. The Petro Government is doing things well behind bars. But of course there is a lack of State coercion. There is no support from the National Police, especially due to the security cordons in the prisons. Some colleagues have been murdered arriving to work. There is a lack of analysis and incompetence of the National Protection Unit (UNP). We request that they work in a harmonious manner and that the missing security cordons be resolved. It is also important that peace processes be initiated with the leaders of these gangs from prisons. We make that call to the high commissioner.

But haven’t the negotiations within the prisons between the Government and the leaders of these gangs already been done?

We do not know that these negotiations have been made. In no Government have these people lost their criminal power in prisons. We must speak before repressing.

One of the big questions is why these criminals continue to use their cell phones and communicate, in many cases even organizing extortion networks within prisons. Why is this happening?

All people deprived of their liberty in Colombia to an intramural extent, which is almost 90,000, must have the right to communication. They have to use legal telephones, visits, communication with their lawyers.

The fact that there are methods of entering prohibited elements has been something historic in the prison system. It may be due to the poor provision of the telephone service, because the signal jammers do not work. But no prisoner in Colombia can be held incommunicado. They are only limited by the right to freedom and the right to locomotion.

We must address external problems such as reducing the criminal power of these gangs, but historically all high-level people who have been inside prisons have maintained their criminal power. This time it is not due to acts of corruption or previous problems, but rather there is a gun plan to do things the way they should be done.

Was there any alert about Colonel Fernández?

We have always been in a tense calm because organizations like Death to Oppressive Guardians (MAGO) have generated homicides and gun plots this year and since previous months. On May 9 there were shots fired at La Modelo prison and they left those threatening pamphlets against the colonel.

We spent a week in peaceful protests for the lives of prison officials because there was a gun plan. The entire INPEC was on alert and there was a lack of foresight in the colonel’s case. We must make a call to the mayors and police commanders of the cities. They regret it when they kill officials. They murdered Buga’s colleague Romo passing the pedestrian bridge at the entrance to the prison. If there was a security cordon, the events would have been different.

Who is behind Mago?

The Prosecutor’s Office and the Police must have that information. But after 56 people murdered, the authorities should already know. We have to call on director Augusto Rodríguez of the UNP who has made security studies become negligent.

Are there acts of corruption by the guardians themselves to leak information?

At this time, many investigations are underway for the entry of prohibited items. But I wouldn’t dare say that there is corruption in the guard to leak information. That has to be defined by the authorities.

Are you afraid of working at INPEC today?

We know that it is a risky activity. But today we see that there is a lack of protection by the State and very slow activity of the UNP and administrative decisions that we do not understand. They withdrew a scheme from me in January abruptly and without legal arguments despite the fact that I had death threats. There are prison directors who have threats and do not have a security plan. The director of Girón, for example, has no scheme; The director of the Carmen prison has a conventional vehicle, he does not have an armored one.

What is the problem between INPEC and USPEC? What do both entities do?

There is a duality between both entities. USPEC manages the budget for all prisons, including hiring. The previous Government left contracts for future periods and that affects because the proper process in food and health cannot be carried out. There are 300,000 million that were stopped before being executed by this entity according to the findings of the Comptroller’s Office.

What is happening at the UNP?

In the case of Colonel Fernández they had to act ex officio because the threats were public. The paperwork when there are imminent threats and the delays of risk analysts generate deaths. They have to safeguard our lives and there are cases that cannot be evaluated in such a basic way and without having the context of our employment.

 
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