Guatemalan Official Considers Alcohol in Jail

April 29, 2005

GUATEMALA CITY (EFE) –Guatemala’s top ranking penitentiaryauthority says she is in favor of new legislationto allow prisoners to drink liquor injail.Patricia de Chea, director of theGuatemalan Penitentiary System,announced Friday she would request anew Law to Regulate the PenitentiarySystem, which would allow inmates toconsume alcohol to celebrate “specialoccasions.”Chea made her comments in responseto photographs published last Friday bythe local daily Siglo XXI, in which agroup of hardened inmates appeareddrinking alcohol and talking on the phone– both of which are prohibited activitiesin jail, according to Guatemalan law.Chea admitted the photos showedillegal activity, but said it was “normal.”“If outside of jail people have a coupleof drinks to relax and be happy, Iimagine that these people behind bars alsowant to be relaxed and happy, especiallyif they are watching a soccer game,” Cheasaid, adding that prohibition just leads todesire and corruption.

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