Supervisors and investigative agents have stopped working cases because they are needed to work logistics for prisoners attending court. A lack of personnel dedicated exclusively to these functions and the fiscal crisis prevents the agency from hiring additional guards.
The problem is one of the main concerns of the Directorate of the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ), because despite multiple efforts, no solution is forthcoming.
Wálter Espinoza, director of the judicial police, acknowledged that by guarding inmates at hearings and trials, “investigations are neglected” and accepted that this work is carried out by investigators and even by supervisors who manage local delegations.
“The investigation of crimes, of pending cases, to cover hearings is left aside . It is true that there are heads of delegations that participate in custodial work because the staff is insufficent, ”added Espinoza.
The head of the OIJ explained that multiple efforts have been made within the Judiciary, but none have been effective. In addition, he made it clear that the situation is out of the hands of the OIJ, because they cannot take administrative action.
“It is a very serious problem that has not been addressed. The OIJ has no possibilities of action because we have no budgetary or administrative autonomy or resource management. We depend on the Judiciary and we have no new vacancies for investigators or custodians, ”said Espinoza.
In 2019, the prison population reached it’s highest levels in history. Currently there are 16,000 prisoners, for which the OIJ has 435 custodians. This group must cover all the hearings, trials, acknowledgments and legal proceedings for the prisoners. Court hearings require at least 2 custodians for each prisoner.
Staff shortages are a consequence of the fiscal crisis, which prevents the Judiciary from creating new positions although planning reports indicate that the hiring of more staff is necessary.