Medellín emulates Bukele and will build a prison with state-of-the-art technology

The mayor of the Colombian city announced the construction of a jail that will use motion sensors and artificial intelligence technology.

The mayor of Medellín, Colombia, Daniel Quintero Calle, confirmed that he will build a mega-prison that will hold 1,400 criminals. In an appearance before the media, he detailed the characteristics of the Cárcel Distrital de Sindicados de Medellín (Metropolitan Jail of Medellín):

We have achieved the approval of what will be the Cárcel Distrital de Sindicados de Medellín. A 3-million-square-meter space with 560,000 square feet of construction that will house nearly 1,400 criminals.

In addition, the mayor of Medellín boasted that the prison will be equipped with top-tier facilities:

It has six surveillance towers and state-of-the-art technology, in addition to artificial intelligence. We will be able to see the activity of all prisoners all the time. It will be the most secure prison in the country; it will be the most important model of prison security in the country. It will be built in the town of San Cristóbal. With this we achieve both dignity and capacity.

In this way, Quintero Calle is trying to emulate Nayib Bukele, the president of El Salvador, in attempting to create world-class facilities to detain criminals. The Salvadoran president built the largest prison in the Americas in the center of El Salvador, capable of holding 40,000 members of the Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 gangs. In less than a month, Bukele carried out two transfers of 2,000 inmates each.

Prisons overcrowded

Since becoming Colombia's president in August 2022, Gustavo Petro has been characterized as being weak on crime. One of his first measures upon taking office was to suspend arrest and extradition warrants against 11 leaders of the National Liberation Army (ELN) terrorist group. He also gained prominence for his controversial claims, such as when he said that cocaine was "less poisonous" than coal or oil.

Another of the Petro administration's promises was that no more prisons would be built. This announcement was striking considering the shortages in the country's prisons. Colombia's National Penitentiary and Prison Institute (INPEC) reported that prison facilities had an overcrowding rate of 20% in June 2022, per local media outlet Noticias RCN. At that time there were 97,425 inmates, while the total capacity is just 81,175.