Costa Rica court orders better prison beds for conjugal visits

June 16, 2015

If people get squeamish at the thought of sleeping in hotel beds, image this: Prisoners at La Reforma penitentiary sued for nicer mattresses for their conjugal visits. And the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court agreed.

The prisoners complained in case 15-005871-0007-CO that the mattresses in the rooms where conjugal visits take place are so unhygienic that they “put the health of [prisoners and their visitors] at risk.”

Prison administrators acknowledged that the conditions are, um, less than ideal. Despite agreeing that the mattresses were dangerously gross, the prison had not taken action to make improvements. Administrators claimed there was not enough padding in the budget to improve the mattresses. No date was given for when the resources would be made available.

The Constitutional Chamber, also known as Sala IV, was not impressed. The seven judges noted that the state must ensure that prisoners’ basic needs —health, security and well-being — are met even if they are incarcerated.

“In this context, this court believes it necessary to intervene to guarantee the fundamental rights of prisoners and their partners, as well as protect the conditions of their environment, as in this particular case, the conjugal visit rooms,” read the decision.

The Sala IV ordered the Alajuela prison to improve the conditions in three months from June 10.

No word yet on access to a red shirt to throw over the lamp.

You may be interested

Prison sentence for abortion in El Salvador draws attention to Central American laws
Health
48 views
Health
48 views

Prison sentence for abortion in El Salvador draws attention to Central American laws

Julia Ríos / AFP - February 19, 2018

The recent liberation of Salvadoran woman Teodora Vásquez after 11 years of prison for having an abortion has drawn increased…

5 questions for Costa Rican musician Debi Nova
Weekend Arts Spotlight
340 views
Weekend Arts Spotlight
340 views

5 questions for Costa Rican musician Debi Nova

Elizabeth Lang - February 17, 2018

Music as a way of life, a career, and a path toward achieving big dreams: that's what drives the Costa…

What to do in Costa Rica: concerts, culture and love around the country
Events
377 views
Events
377 views

What to do in Costa Rica: concerts, culture and love around the country

Elizabeth Lang - February 16, 2018

With Valentine’s Day just behind us, it’s time to celebrate love in all of its expressions, as well as Costa…