Inside the cramped and grimy Panama prison where inmates are forced to wait years before being...
Updated: Sep 19, 2019
sentenced or worse, a declaration of innocence.
INMATES are crammed into grimy, overcrowded cells and have to wait years to be sentenced — welcome to the world’s worst jail.
Prisoners are crammed into tiny cells at the prison in Panama. Picture: Carlos Jasso/Reuters/Picture MediaSource:Picture Media
IS THIS the craziest prison in the world?
These startling photographs give a glimpse of what life is like inside Panama’s filthy La Joya jail, reports The Sun.
They show a place where inmates are crammed into grimy, overcrowded cells with little to no access to medical help.
Many of those locked inside have been waiting years just to be sentenced “There is no limit to pre-trial detention,” said Juan Carlos Arauz, a Panamanian lawyer and vice president of the National College of Lawyers.
He said more than 60 per cent of those inside have not been sentenced.
But things are changing.
Under new rules, detainees can now only be held for a maximum of one year without trial and any time served will count towards their final sentence.
One of the inmate’s sex dolls.
Inmate Miguel Lopez who is HIV positive cooks in the transgender gallery
Panama’s prisons are notorious and are making the headlines for all the wrong reasons, reports the Mail Online.
The country’s jails often have ‘life-threatening’ conditions, according to a 2014 report by the US State Department.
Most of the jailbirds admit all they really want is to know their fate.
“The only thing I want is to be handed my sentence,’ said Alvis Javier, imprisoned without conviction for six years for suspected drug possession.
Javier is studying for a secondary school certificate and lives in a cell in the prison’s transgender unit, where inmates draw curtains over their bunks for privacy.
One inmate at the prison, on the outskirts of Panama City, even showed off his ‘cell mate’ — a life-size inflatable sex toy.
Carlos Fuentes, who was jailed for falsifying his ID card, has been stuck in La Joya, Spanish for ‘The Jewel,’ for almost two years awaiting sentencing.
“There are a lot of us here in this situation,” he said.
The government has recently been transferring foreign prisoners to a new prison, La Nueva Joya, to cut down on overcrowding.
Gabriel Pinzon, director of Panama’s prisons system, pledged the cell block the foreigners have vacated would be refurbished.
“We see some factors related to the volume of cases, which at times impacts the judicial (process), which we are currently trying to combat,” he added.