247 men spend their days among smelling beds, wooden cabins and doorless bathrooms. They are serving 6-month sentences in prison for failing to pay or having arrears in their children, former partners or parents’ alimony.
Some of them cook to earn ₡ 5,500 a fortnight and others are waiting for their families to raise the money they need to be able to go home.
The “normal” conditions of La Reforma’s food-alimony prisoners are complicated due to the lack of space, bathrooms and beds and everything gets worse by the end and beginning of the year.
Authorities from this prison are prepared to receive at least 100 people before the end of January. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Justice, the arrest warrants are due to arrears in the payment of December alimony, plus the payment of the Christmas bonus, January alimony and the school payment.
95% of the people arrested in this area are farmers, construction workers and people with seasonal jobs.
The man who owes the most accumulates a debt of ₡ 3.6 million and the one that owesthe least accumulate ₡ 50,000.
7 out of 10 inmates are in this center because they can’t afford a lawyer, they live in extreme poverty or are unemployed,
said Ana Cristina Cuevas, attorney from the Alimony Unit.