ProgramDirect ImpactIndirect Impact
Crecimiento Interno4.20210.502
Trabajo Interno3.85111.553
Arte Interno21.33244.797
Casa Libertad (Released inmates)7121.780

Background / Review

According to the INPEC and the Office of Defense of the Citizens, this is the outlook of the penitentiary and prison system in Colombia:

Total: 175,000 inmates

In intramural seclusion (within prison walls), home detention (detention and prison in the residence of the inmate) and electronic surveillance - as substitute prison sentence.

Total inmates in prisons

118,000, out of which 40% are detained as a prevention or are accused (i.e., they have not received a sentence and their legal status may remain in limbo for years because of the inefficiency of the judicial system).


Percentage of men: 77%

Percentage of women: 23%

Foreign prisoners

From 65 countries, mostly from Spain, Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela and United States, mainly due to drug trafficking.

Inmate population increased 308% between 1993 and 2015

Prison capacity of Colombian prisons

Real Capacity: 77.950

Overcrowding: 55%

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

Prison Establishments

Total: 137

Regional total: 6 (Central, North, West, East, Northeast, and Caldas)


Liberty deprivation, rejection of society towards inmates for the crimes committed, separation from their loved ones, stigma from the community, coexistence in a place where values, morality and  laws are not respected are  just a few of the realities inmates have to face when admitted to prisons to "pay" for their crimes.

The effects of captivity and isolation on the inmates generate such a psychological damage and traumatic behaviors that greatly hinder the possibilities of a real re-education, labor and social reintegration when they have served their sentence. Additionally, the ambivalence where society is considered a victim of the crimes committed by the prisoners and they, in turn, consider themselves as victims of a system that rejects them. These are polarized feelings for those who seek a real and permanent reconciliation, to facilitate future and authentic re-socialization.