Local closes due to health violations in food at the Rivera prison

A place where food was prepared for people deprived of liberty at the Rivera prison center was closed. The inspection carried out by the Ministry of Health found spoiled food in the kitchen, directly affecting the health of approximately 1,800 inmates.

Diario del Huila, Close-up

In a joint action by the Ombudsman’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office and the Neiva Ombudsman’s Office, an improvised premises where food was prepared for the inmates of the Rivera prison was closed, after serious violations of health standards were discovered. During an inspection carried out by the Ministry of Health, spoiled food was found in the kitchen, directly affecting the health of approximately 1,800 inmates.

The closure of the establishment was carried out after various complaints and complaints about the deplorable conditions in which the food was prepared. The intervention of the health authorities was requested by the Huila Regional Prosecutor’s Office, which confirmed that the unsanitary conditions of the place had caused stomach and gastrointestinal problems among the inmates.

Jerson Andrés Bastidas Vargas, representative of Neiva, expressed his concern about the food conditions in the Rivera prison. “For days, problems, inconsistencies, alleged non-compliance and deterioration in the quality and conditions of food delivery to people deprived of liberty have been evident,” he indicated.

The inspection carried out by the Neiva Health Secretariat revealed unsanitary conditions in the premises where food was currently being prepared for people deprived of liberty.


The authorities took these measures after receiving multiple complaints and initiated investigations, to ensure that those responsible for food preparation comply with their obligations and do not continue to violate the rights of inmates. “The Ministry of Health, at the request of the Huila Regional Attorney’s Office, inspected one of the places intended for the preparation of food in which they found different irregularities that forced the closure of the premises. I was also informed about the poor condition of some foods and hygiene conditions.”. the representative informed.

It should be noted that the preparation of food was temporarily moved to this place due to the demolition of the old dining room or ranch that is inside the Rivera judicial prison, which will be replaced by a new one with better hygiene conditions. However, at this temporary site, rations were arriving late and in poor condition.

It was clarified that the suspension of the operation at the site will be temporary. Meanwhile, the operator contracted by the Penitentiary and Prison Services Unit (USPEC) is guaranteeing the delivery of food by acquiring it through third parties or at another site other than the one that was closed.

This situation is part of a broader context of difficulties faced by prisoners, including overcrowding and poor provision of health services. Disease outbreaks in the municipality’s penitentiary and transitional centers have been recurrent, exacerbating the vulnerability of the prison population. The authorities have emphasized the need for those responsible for preparing food for inmates to comply with health and quality regulations. The objective is to guarantee that the rights of people deprived of liberty do not continue to be violated and that urgent measures are adopted to improve health and well-being conditions within penitentiary centers.

A new ‘ranch’

The prison situation in the department of Huila continues to be alarming. Only in the Neiva Medium Security Penitentiary Establishment, overcrowding exceeds 100%. It is worth remembering that during the last Penitentiary Round Table, held in the capital of Huila at the end of February, financial resources in the order of one billion pesos were announced to improve the prison infrastructure in the department. The call for help from the public ministry, including the Regional Attorney’s Office, the Regional Defender’s Office and the Neiva Ombudsman’s Office, was heard. “It is the first time in history that this departmental penitentiary technical table is organized with the presence of the highest executives of the Uspec,” highlighted Karol Ortigoza, National Deputy Director of this entity at the time.

The participation of the director of prison infrastructure and the director of prison logistics at the national level added significant value to the day, which focused on addressing urgent prison challenges at the departmental level. This momentous event brought together the highest managers of the Penitentiary and Prison Services Unit (Uspec). Among the most relevant announcements made during the meeting, the commitment to allocate nearly one billion pesos to improve prison infrastructure in Huila stood out. This fund will be used for the complete remodeling of the ranch, the space where food is prepared at the Rivera penitentiary center. “This investment will guarantee optimal provision of food service for all inmates,” said Ortigoza.

At this prison table, in addition to the remodeling of the ranch, other pressing needs were addressed, such as the adaptation of sanitary batteries in the prison infrastructure and the improvement of health services.

Transitional centers

If the situation in the Rivera prison is critical due to the healthiness of the food consumed by the inmates, in the Transitional Centers located in the old warehouses of Alpina, Bogotá and Caguán neighborhoods it is even worse. Every day, detained people receive food in poor conditions; The rations arrive damaged, leaving more than 300 inmates without food. In this situation, on some occasions family members are allowed to bring food, but the treatment they receive is inadequate.

“When they let us bring food to our relatives, first we have to stand in line for more than two hours under the sun. When we arrive at the checkpoint, despite bringing the food separately and in transparent containers, as they require, they force us to put all the food in a single bag. That is degrading, not even that is done to dogs. We know that they are there because of mistakes they have made, but they have the right to dignity and good treatment. Added to this is the overcrowding in which they remain. The authorities talk about improvements and actions, but the reality is different: everything remains the same or worse, because more people deprived of their liberty enter every day,” said a family member.

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