In order to improve safety in Costa Rica’s prisons, the United States government is contributing $800,000 to train the prison officials and provide new equipment. Costa Rica’s National Penitentiary System has forty-one centers and offices throughout the country to assist adolescents, adults; male and female, in closed rehabilitation facilities as well as semi-open centers. Under the Ministry of Justice, Costa Rica’s Directorate General of Social Rehabilitation, is the entity in charge of maintaining its prison systems.
A group of twenty officials from Social Rehabilitation and the Penitentiary Police will be traveling to the United States for specialized training in the management of prisons. The prison officials will travel in two groups and stay a week in the USA. The idea is that upon completion of the training programs, the newly trained prison officials will be able to return to their respective prisons and further train their co-workers, creating a permanent training program for Costa Rica’s prisons. The comprehensive training program includes visits by experts to Costa Rica’s prisons to review the training programs and provide advice and support to the newly trained on-site teams.
The United States ambassador, Anne Andrew, said “the important thing is that this program is helping to improve the prisons to make them safer and more effective in Costa Rica, while at the same time respecting the human rights of the prisoners.” The U.S. Embassy said that the aid is being provided through the Central Regional Security Initiative, CARSI.
The Central America Regional Security Initiative, CARSI responds to the region’s threats and builds upon existing strategies and programs, both on a bilateral and regional basis. It is designed to stop the flow of narcotics, weapons, and bulk cash generated by illicit drug sales, and to confront gangs and criminal organizations. CARSI envisions strengthening and integrating security efforts from the U.S. Southwest border to Panama, including the littoral waters of the Caribbean. The desired objective of CARSI is to produce a safer and more secure region where criminal organizations no longer wield the power to destabilize governments or threaten national and regional security and public safety, as well as to prevent the entry and spread of illicit drugs, violence, and transnational threats to countries throughout the region and to the United States.
Since 2008, CARSI has committed $361 million dollars to support the following programs throughout Central America:
-Law enforcement and security force assistance to confront narcotics and arms trafficking, gangs, organized crime, address border security deficiencies, as well as to disrupt criminal infrastructure, such as money laundering and trafficking routes and networks;
-Capacity enhancements for public security, law enforcement and justice sector actors and institutions, and rule of law agencies and personnel to provide the skills, technology and expertise to address the threats of the region;
-Community policing, gang prevention and economic and social programming for at risk youth in areas adversely impacted by crime.
The Five Goals of CARSI in Central America are as follows:
-Create safe streets for the citizens of the region;
-Disrupt the movement of criminals and contraband within and between the nations of Central America;
-Support the development of strong, capable and accountable Central American Governments;
-Re-establish effective state presence and security in communities at risk; and
-Foster enhanced levels of security and rule of law coordination and cooperation between the nations of the region