Colombia convicts to fund prisons

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

From now on property seized from drug-traffickers will be sold to raise money for prisons, so criminals will in effect be paying for their internment.

The government says it will build 15 new prisons over the next 10 years, financed in the main by drug-traffickers' assets.

The $200m project aims to create places for about 24,000 prisoners.

Massive overcrowding

Drug-trafficking is at the root of much of Colombia's crime and has fuelled the 40-year civil conflict.

A government campaign has been launched to seize all property and assets gained from the proceeds of drug-trafficking to alleviate massive overcrowding and to make room for the thousands of suspects awaiting trial.

Only last week, police seized 200 properties believed to be owned by members of the Norte del Valle drugs cartel.

These will be added to the thousands of houses, cars and even aeroplanes now in the grip of the Colombian Government.

As soon as their legal status is resolved, they will be sold and new prisons will be built from the proceeds.

So from now on crime in Colombia will pay, but only for new prison cells for the criminals.