Modern System for Prison Surveillance Installed in El Salvador

By Dialogo
May 16, 2011

The Salvadoran Directorate of Penal Centers has installed a modern camera system for real-time monitoring of this country’s dangerous prisons, from which extortion and homicides are ordered, an official source announced.

“The contribution made by twenty-four-hour surveillance is quite large; for example, I can detect the sale of drugs or (the use) of cell phones. It’s a large step forward,” the director of prisons, Douglas Moreno, declared at a press conference.

The system, which is already in operation, makes it possible to observe “the majority” of El Salvador’s overcrowded prisons from the capital, from a modern central office with various screens.

The authorities have detected how individuals with ties to the inmates have thrown various objects, such as cell phones, into the prisons from outside, and on the inside, they have observed the “complicity” of some guards who collaborate in the introduction of such objects.

Moreno said that the agency is hurrying to present requests for action to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and to carry out “a severe purge” of the corps of agents, thanks to those observations.

Looking forward, the director of prisons indicated that the security cabinet will announce “more radical” measures in regard to the prisons in the next few days.

Despite the fact that El Salvador has nineteen prisons designed to hold 7,800 inmates, the prison population currently exceeds 24,600 inmates.