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NCJ Number: 67574 Find in a Library
Title: CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM IN VENZUELA
Author(s): M LINARES
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 252
Format: Document
Language: Spanish
Country: Venezuela
Annotation: DISCREPANCIES BETWEEN THE OFFICIAL PENAL PHILOSOPHY OF THE VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT AND THE REALITIES OF LIFE IN CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS ARE DISCUSSED.
Abstract: THE VENEZUELAN CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM WAS COMPARED WITH A CORRECTIONS MODEL DESIGNED ACCORDING TO THE OFFICIAL PENAL ORIENTATION OF THE VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT (INMATE REHABILITATION), PUBLISHED CORRECTIONS STANDARDS, CRIMINOLOGICAL POLICY STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE, AND THE UNITED NATIONS' PROCLAMATION ON MINIMUM TREATMENT STANDARDS FOR PRISON INMATES. ONE OF THE MAJOR CAUSES OF CORRECTIONS PROBLEMS IS THE OVERCROWDING OF EXISTING PRISON FACILITIES, BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE SLOW PACE OF DELIVERY OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, SINCE DEFENDANTS ARE KEPT IN JAIL FOR MONTHS, SOMTIMES YEARS, UNTIL THEIR CASE IS HEARD IN COURT. MANY DEFENDANTS CANNOT AFFORD A PRIVATE DEFENSE COUNSEL, WHICH FORCES THEM TO WAIT FOR ONE OF THE OVERWORKED AND CASE-LOADED PUBLIC DEFENDERS TO TAKE THEIR CASE. TREATMENT OF THESE DETAINEES IS WORSE THAN THAT ACCORDED TO CONVICTED OFFENDERS, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED ANY OF THE PRIVILEGES GRANTED TO INMATES AND HAVE NO ACCESS TO INMATE TREATMENT PROGRAMS, SINCE THEY HAVE NO OFFICIAL INMATE STATUS. YET THEY SHARE QUARTERS WITH CONVICTED OFFENDERS, OFTEN VIOLENT AND HARDENED CRIMINALS. THE PHYSICAL FACILITIES ARE DARK, POORLY VENTILATED, BARELY FURNISHED, ANTIQUATED, RUNDOWN, AND TOTALLY INADEQUATE. THE FOOD IS GENERALLY OF POOR QUALITY AND, ABOVE ALL INSUFFICIENT IN QUANTITY. INMATES' CONTACTS WITH THE OUTSIDE WORLD ARE BY MAIL (CENSORED) AND THROUGH VISITS FROM RELATIVES AND FRIENDS, WHO ARE SUBJECTED TO UNNECESSARY AND HUMILIATING, OFTEN INDECENT, BODILY SEARCHES BEFORE BEING ALLOWED TO SEE THE INMATES. PRISON ADMINISTRATIONS PROVIDE NEITHER INDIVIDUAL RADIO SETS, NOR ACCESS TO TELEVISION OR MOVIE VIEWING, OFFERED COLLECTIVELY ONLY IN A FEW INSTITUTIONS. EDUCATION IS PROVIDED, FROM ELEMENTARY THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL, WITH FEW INCENTIVES TO ATTEND. INMATE CLASSIFICATION IS PERFORMED BY THE EXPERT TEAMS PRESCRIBED BY THE 1961 CORRECTIONAL REFORM LAW (A PHYSICIAN, A PSYCHIATRIST, A PSYCHOLOGIST, AN EDUCATOR, AND A SOCIAL WORKER, WHO ARE NOT PART OF THE CORRECTIONAL STAFF). HOWEVER, INDIVIDUAL INMATE DOSSIERS CONTAIN HASTILY AND SUPERFICIALLY GATHERED DATA, ESPECIALLY WITH REGARD TO DANGEROUSNESS DIAGNOSES. PRISON STAFFS (ADMINISTRATIVE AND CUSTODIAL) DO NOT HAVE CIVIL SERVICE STATUS. GUARDS ARE OFTEN POORLY-TRAINED MARTINETS, WHO ENFORCE THE COUNTLESS, ABSURD PRISON RULES WITH IMPERSONAL BRUTALITY. EXEMPLARY BEHAVIOR, A VAGUE CRITERION WHICH SEEMS UNATTAINABLE ANYWAY IS USED TO DETERMINE PRIVILEGES. PROBATION IS ONLY GRANTED IN A FEW CASES. SOME POSTRELEASE ASSISTANCE IS OFFERED TO CAREFULLY SCREENED EX-OFFENDERS, BUT THOSE WHO NEED IT MOST (ALCOHOLICS, DRUG ADDICTS, EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED INDIVIDUALS) ARE MERELY REFERRED TO GOVERNMENT AND SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCIES. APPENDIXES GIVE SAMPLES OF INMATE CLASSIFICATION FORMS, BEHAVIORAL OBSERVATION BLANKS, AND FORMS TO BE FILLED BY MEMBERS OF THE CLASSIFICATION TEAM. A BIBLIOGRAPHY IS APPENDED. --IN SPANISH.
Index Term(s): Correctional facilities; Correctional institutions (adult); Correctional Officers; Facility conditions; Food services; Inmate classification; Inmate discipline; Inmate visits; Political offenders; Preventive detention; Prison disorders; Prisoner's rights; US Navy; Venezuela
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67574

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