ProgramDirect ImpactIndirect Impact
Internal Growth 4.20210.502
Internal Work3.85111.553
Internal Art 21.33244.797
Freedom House (Post-Prisoners)7121.780

Background / Review

According to data from INPEC and the Ombudsman’s Office, this is the panorama of the penitentiary and prison system in Colombia:

Total: 175,000 inmates

Intramural detention (within prison establishments), home detention (detention and imprisonment at the inmate's residence) and electronic surveillance (as an alternative to imprisonment).

Total inmates in prisons

118,000, of which 40 % are in pre-trial detention or are in syndicated detention (i.e. they have not been convicted and their legal status may remain in limbo for years due to the inefficiency of the judicial system).


Percentage of men: 77%

Percentage of women: 23%

Foreign prisoners
From 65 countries, mostly from Venezuela, Spain, Mexico, Ecuador and the United States, mainly for the crime of drug trafficking. Between 1993 and 2015 the population deprived of liberty increased by 308%
Capacity in Colombian prisons

Actual Capacity: 77.950

Overcrowding: 55%

Prison establishments with the greatest overcrowding: Riohacha (454%), Cali (274%), Honda, Tolima (176%), Barranquilla (171%), among others.

Prison Establishments

Total: 137

Total regions: 6 (Central, North, West, East, Northeast, and Caldas)

The privation of freedom, society's rejection towards prisoners for the crimes they have committed, separation from their loved ones, stigmatization in front of the community, living together in a place where values, principles and laws are transgressed and morality is not a reference for most prisoners, are unquestionable realities experienced by people who enter prisons to "pay" for their crimes.

The effects of captivity and isolation generates psychological damage and traumatic behaviour among the prisoners, making it extremely difficult for them to have any real chance of re-education and reintegration into work and society once they have served their sentence. Added to the above is the real ambivalence in which society considers itself a victim of the crimes committed by prisoners and the latter also consider themselves victims of a system that rejects them. There are polarized feelings for which a true and permanent reconciliation must be sought, which will facilitate genuine re-socialization in the future