A recent investigation report released by the Ecuadorian Prison Technical Research Institute shows that overcrowding is an important reason for the frequent occurrence of prison violence in the country, and criminal gangs outside prisons take advantage of the current situation of prison overcrowding to develop and strengthen their influence in prisons.
By the end of May 2021, the Ecuadorian prison system had detained about 4 million people, but its national prison system was designed to have a maximum capacity of 29800 people. Among them, Guayaquil Prison is the prison with the largest number of prisoners in Ecuador, with a designed capacity of 5200, but currently there are 8542 people in practice, exceeding 62.8% of its capacity.
Relevant research points out that in order to strengthen the management of subjects on trial during the investigation, Ecuador promulgated and implemented the “Comprehensive Criminal Law Act” in 2014, and the prison population has tripled in the past 7 years since then. Official data show that 42% of the country’s prison detainees have not yet completed the final trial and are still in the investigation stage. During the riots in Guayaquil prison on the 13th of this month, most of the 68 people died were still awaiting trial or trial stage.
More than half of the detainees in Ecuador’s prison system are related to property or drug crimes. As of mid-November, prison riots across the country had resulted in 318 deaths.