June 8th, 2010
10:46 PM ET

Van der Sloot faces prisons known for harsh conditions

Joran van der Sloot, Stephany Flores, Natalee Holloway. These names dominated Google trends for most of Tuesday, when news broke that van der Sloot allegedly confessed to Peruvian authorities to killing Flores. Adding to the intrigue, sources close to the investigation said the Dutchman admitted to killing Flores after she discovered information on his laptop linking him to the disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway.

"Peru prisons" was also a popular search term late in the afternoon, with many wondering what kind of conditions van der Sloot might face if he enters one of Peru's 71 active prisons.

A 2009 U.S. State Department report on Peru's human rights record noted that while the South American country's government generally respects the human rights of its citizens, prison conditions were harsh for the country's 44,800 inmates - 17,297 of whom were awaiting sentencing as of December 2009, according to the report.

Among the areas of serious concern highlighted were overcrowding, poor sanitation and inadequate nutrition and health care. The San Juan de Lurigancho men's prison held 9,874 prisoners in a facility designed for 3,204 and incidences of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS were reportedly at near-epidemic levels, according to the report.

"Prisoners with money had access to cell phones, illegal drugs and meals prepared outside the prison. Conditions were poor to extremely harsh in facilities for prisoners who lacked funds," the report said. "Inmates had intermittent access to running water, bathing facilities were inadequate, kitchen facilities were unhygienic, and prisoners slept in hallways and common areas for lack of cell space."

Corruption and professional incompetence were also reported in some of the nation's 71 prisons, 56 of which are operated by The National Penitentiary Institute. The National Police of Peru has jurisdiction over the rest, according to the State Department report.

"There were deaths of inmates in prisons, most attributed to fellow inmates, but some were due to negligence by guards. Guards received little or no training or supervision. Corruption was a serious problem, and some guards cooperated with criminal bosses who oversaw the smuggling of guns and drugs into prisons."

Conditions are especially harsh in the country's maximum security prisons, which are extremely isolated geographically.

One of them, the Challapalca Prison, is in the Andes near the Bolivian border, at an altitude of 15,000 feet above sea level, about 211 kilometers from the nearest city of Puno - a six-hour ride down a dirt road, depending on conditions, according to a 2003 report on the facility by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

There is no regular electricity or running water, and temperatures most of the year hover around 33 degrees Fahrenheit in the day and as low as 4 degrees below zero at night, the report said.

Both organizations noted lengthy pretrial detention and inordinate trial delays in Peru - two areas that could concern van der Sloot if he is charged with a crime, which he has not been so far.

"According to a study prepared by the Technical Secretary of the Special Commission for Integral Reform of the Justice System, 61 percent of those in prison were awaiting trial, the majority for between one and two years," the State Department report said. "The law requires release of prisoners who have been held more than 18 months without being sentenced; the period is extended to 36 months in complex cases."

The report also noted the Peruvian government permitted prison visits by independent human rights observers, with the International Committee of the Red Cross making 44 unannounced visits in 2009.

soundoff (192 Responses)
  1. Nobody

    Hey! You know its not ALL his fault. Gosh! Stephanie Flores was the one who confronted him and started talking to him at the casino. She even made the stupidest decision to go to his hotel. HELLO! Haven't her parents told her to NOT GO ANYWHERE WITH A STRANGER. Duh! She's the one who risked her own life to go with Joran, whom she met a few hours ago. She has taught us all a valuable lesson..NEVER GO ANYWHERE WITH A STRANGER. It's not Joran's fault he's a psychopath and has anger issues.

    June 11, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Barbara

    To all who have said that Stephanie's death is partly her fault or all her fault. Murder is only one person's fault, the one who has committed the murder. No excuse, not even what Sloot said about her prying. He is a murderer, plain and simple and all the blame is on him just like every other murderer.

    June 11, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      I am with you Barbara. It is never the woman's fault and it is just "sick' to blame the lady in this case. The man is a killer and it is no coincidence that he killed this lady on the anniversity of Ms. Holloway's disapearance. I hope that goofy Hammer woman comes toher senses and cuts off his funds and then he will find out what a Peruvian prison is really like.

      January 20, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. techfinance

    He is the face of the devil. He's in God's hands now. Eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth.

    June 12, 2010 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Yvonne L

      Last I checked you were not Got-let Him do the judging.

      January 26, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. wow...

    wow....there are alot of pigs like him in this world, and i say the more we get rid of, means the less our innocents will suffer now and in the future.. don't for get there are kids like him being born and growing up every day, a good lesson in why to not spoil a bad acting child.. ---wanda phelps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 12, 2010 at 2:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. elizabeth

    All prisnons should be like Peruvian,then would be less crime.
    He deserves to pay for innocent girls, he deserves hell !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 12, 2010 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mark Baloun

    Your correct, he is already at his assigned prison, in segregation..he only has two others in the section of the prison he is in, next door to the wardens office. Peru knows damn well what would happen in general population.. You hit the nail on the head.

    June 12, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  7. Faesdan

    Why waste all this time and money on a person with such a heinous character and personality. He has Confessed, just take him out back of the court and hang his sorry ass. He killed two innocent girls because he is so spoiled he thinks its appropiate behavior to do so.

    June 13, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Patrick

    Van der Sloot will find out that many 5.5 guys aren't short in every part of their body!

    June 14, 2010 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. Willie T


    June 22, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Johnnycakes

      He confessed.

      January 12, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Yvonne Laurusonis

    Abuse doesn't cure abuse. There's got to be another way to rehabilitate these people–every where in the world. And I still feel there's a "set-up" in this particular case, of some sort. Just does not make sense–the whole matter. I've seen it happen to people-and so have many of you out there-just turn on the news.

    January 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
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