GOVERNMENT TO BUILD MORE JAILS

The General Secretary of Penitentiary Institutions, Mercedes Gallizo, told Parliament last week it is planned to build more jails to cope with a 60% increase in the number of prisoners over the past eight years, from just over 39,000 in 2000 to a current 62,239. She said that 4,514 of these had entered jail in the last nine months. Sra Gallizo attributed the recent increase in prisoners to the penalisation of traffic violations. Not counting Catalonia, which oversees its own prisons, there are 70 jails in Spain, 15 social insertion centres, 10 open prisons and 46 units to hold prisoners needing medical care, amounting to 46,040 cells in all. Several MPs called for more measures such as community work to keep the numbers of prisoners down, because it would be cheaper than building more jails.

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