Authorities detect corruption in Peru prison system

Four high ranking employees from Peru’s National Penitentiary Institute, INPE, have been suspended after an investigation found they were forging documents to transfer inmates to a lower security prison where they could continue to manage their criminal activity from behind bars.

INPE’s president, Leonardo Caparrós, told Agencia Andina the civil servants incriminated in their investigation include the director of INPE’s Regional Office in Lima, Henry Cotos Ochoa, the assistant director of security in Lima, Óscar Castillo Calderón, the head of Lima’s judicial and transfer procedures, Luis Mejía Medina, and the director of Huaral prison, Manuel Silva Palacios.

The inmates were originally being held at the Piedras Gordas maximum security prison. They were charged with, among other things, aggravated assault, illegal possession of arms and kidnapping.

Using forged judicial documents they were reportedly transferred to the Huaral prison and later to Lima’s San Pedro prison, commonly known as Lurigancho, one of Latin America’s largest and overcrowded prisons last November. While at Lurigancho they had more freedom to continue managing their illegal activities.

Caparrós said the three inmates were transferred back to Piedras Gordas prison last week when they uncovered the scheme. He added they will know the level of responsibility of each civil servant after further investigations and that they have notified authorities to take appropriate legal action.

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