Ecuador wants to release hundreds of detainees after deadly riots

The government of Ecuador plans to release up to two thousand detainees due to overcrowding in the prisons. That decision follows riots at a prison complex in the city of Guayaquil earlier this week, killing at least 118 detainees. Prison head Bolivar Garzon argued that mostly elderly, women and inmates with disabilities or terminal detainees are eligible for early release.

This year, there were several bloody confrontations between rival gangs in the country‘s overloaded and under-occupied prisons. There are about 39,000 people trapped in the 65 prison complexes in Ecuador, while they are arranged for roughly 30,000 prisoners.

Experts also found that the government is short of 3,000 in comparison with the 1500 current cipiers. Corruption is rampant in prisons, allowing detainees to face all kinds of bans, including weapons and ammunition.

In addition to fatalities, the Guayaquil riot also suffered more than 80 injuries. Six detainees would have been beheaded. A police force of hundreds of officers large managed to secure the complex on Thursday, after the army had previously surrounded the grounds.

According to the head of Ecuadorian prison service, Guayaquil riots were fueled by โ€œa battle for control by organised crime groups.โ€ Rival gangs are said to have ties to international drug criminals โ€” mainly the Mexican Sinaloa and Jalisco drug cartels โ€” and fight for smuggling routes.

The government has sent an additional 3600 police and military personnel to the prisons in the country due to the turmoil. Meanwhile, at a morgue in Guayaquil, dozens of relatives of prisoners gather, who come to pick up their loved one’s body or find out about their fate.