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. Gordon

    Haha, those Peruvians know how to get quick confessions. Goodbye Joran!

    June 9, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TRY

    I WANT TO BELIEVE VAN DER SLOOT HAS A MENTAL DISORDER. HE'S IS SICK. IF YOU SENT A SICK PERSON TO HARSH PRISON TO BE KILLED BY OTHER PRISONERS, THAN YOU ARE THE WORST KILLER THAN VAN DER SLOOT. IF HER FATHER IS WEALTHY, WHY IS SHE PICKING UP STRANGE MEN FROM THE CASINO TO THE HOTEL AT THAT HOUR? IS THAT THE BEHAVOR OF A WEALTHY KID?

    June 9, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kenny

      Don't desecrate the dead by trying to blame the victim. He's a wealthy, normal-looking guy that sweet-talked her into getting a hotel room with him. He's anti-social behavior disorder– didn't develope a conscience.
      He'll burn in hell after he takes his life in jail a few weeks after being there and learning what "law of the donkey" is.

      June 9, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • toejam

      IF YOU ARE IMPLYING (ok I am sick of imitating you) she deserved getting pounded in, you are a true weirdo.

      June 9, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. barbara galasso

    That young man should pay for all he put Nattle family threw and now this family maybe some one will get him when he is in jail

    June 9, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. toejam

    OK I gotta fistfulla money saying this turd will be DEAD within 4 months. Where do I sign up?

    June 9, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ekek

    The prisoners will eat him alive!!!!!

    June 9, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ekek

    The prisoners may make an attempt to get another confession about the Aruba incident.....more torture...prisoner style.

    June 9, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. scdallas

    Little boy slooty is gonna rip his booty....hehehehe

    June 9, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. colombian

    Joran entered Peru coming from Colombia and I bet that monster killed some poor girl in Colombia too. Why he was caught in Peru is because he murdered someone with money, prestige, etc. In most latin-american countries what happens to the poor never makes the news.

    June 9, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Eddie

    The pain the Holloway & Flores family has had to endure is incomprehensible. I fully support vigilante justice and I hope justice is served in Peruvian prison.

    June 9, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Damiao

    Help to spread this idea overseas, English tips for kids, texts with audio, quiz among others http://www.englishtips-self-taught.blogspot.com

    June 9, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. former peruvian inmate

    he will not be touched talked to or even looked at. he is untouchable. he is psycho. strong and criminal. peru has never seen the likes of him. this is why they will never charge him. he will kill every inmte that approches him feely and without anyone tring to stop him. and he will harm the family who tries to kill him

    June 10, 2010 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. Peruvian

    I am a peruvian. I am also a lawyer here. I can assure everyone that this guy will serve time. Honestly I don't see how this case could have a similar outcome to the one I aruba. If alberto fujimori, former peruvian president is in jail, with all the power and connections he had, then believe me, this mr. Nobody dutch boy has no escape. I don't think he will die in jail, unless he manages to kill himself. Nornally, in caseslike these where the inmate is expected to being awaited by the other inmates to be "punished", the police gives such inmate some type of protection or isolation. However, I can assure you that he will not have a good time in prision. 5.5 and all, the prisoners that will accompany the dutch boy are people who are are far worst criminals than he, and in no manner will respect him. He has no idea what he just got into, really. The only aspect in his favor is that he will not be sent to lurigancho,because of the lack of space there.That is the worst prision.
    About 9 years ago, there was a similar case where a wealthy peruvian boy hammered another wealthy peruvian girl, confessed and all, and he got a 25 year sentence. Just so you can get an idea of what awaits this dumb jerk.

    June 10, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Esther

    Hang him high.

    June 10, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ron Jeremy

    This h0m0 is cute. I wanna see him in one of my movies

    June 10, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Barbara

    Sloot's trust fund will ensure any time he spends in prison will be spent is a somewhat cushy lifestyle compared to other prisoners. Who would want to eliminate the cash cow. He will be protected by the guards and other prisoners as long as they are getting their payoffs. He will pay dearly for his food, clothing, etc. and he will survive. Too bad.

    June 10, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
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