Conditions in prisons and jails in general met international standards, and during the year the government continued to allow visits by independent human rights observers.
Prisoners had access to potable water. There were no reported cases of food shortages or of inadequate sanitation, ventilation, temperature control, lighting, or medical care in prisons and detention centers.
During the year there were three deaths reported in prisons, all linked to health issues. There are seven prisons – the largest, Cadeia Central da Praia (CCP), is designed to hold up to 850 prisoners.
Prisons that exceeded their maximum capacity (indicated in parentheses) were the Central Prison of Sao Vicente with 311 inmates (200), the Regional Prison of Fogowith with 83 (54), and the Regional Prison of Sao Antao with 55 prisoners (36).
The Regional Prison of Sal held 16 prisoners, the Sub Regional Prison of Sao Nicolauo 12, and the Sub Regional Prison of Boa Vista five prisoners.
There were 1,226 prisoners and detainees in total registered in the seven prisons at the end of 2010. Of this number, 1,153 were men and 73 were women.
There were 323 prisoners in prisons and jails in pretrial detention (“preventive detention”): 306 men and 17 women. The prison system continues to struggle with overcrowding, especially in older prisons. To deal with this, the government sent some prisoners to the Central Prison on Santiago Island; this was done also to separate prisoners based on trial status, gender, and age.
There was no credible evidence that conditions for women prisoners were worse than those for men.
There were no prison ombudsmen. There were no steps taken to improve recordkeeping.
The law allows for the suspension of prison sentences that do not exceed two years in nonviolent cases if: a judge agrees; it accompanies a program to reintroduce the offender to society; and the offender completes works “beneficial to the community.”
At CCP, prisoners were separated by gender, age, and type of crime committed, with distinction made between convicted prisoners and those awaiting trial. There were 18 disciplinary cells and two rooms for spousal visits. The facility has spaces for guards, lawyers, and educational and social reinsertion trainers. There is a classroom equipped with television, DVD player, and computers; a space for adult education; medical facilities; canteens for guards and prisoners; a library; and a space for professional training on social reintegration.
Conditions in prisons other than CCP were inadequate for inmates with mental illness and substance addictions. The number of corrections personnel to deal with the growing number of such prisoners was insufficient.
Prisoners and detainees had access to visitors, and authorities allowed freedom of religious practice. There were no reports of impediments to the direct submission of complaints to judicial authorities concerning prison abuses. Prisoners’ relatives reported some complaints; corrections officials claimed all had been investigated and disproven.
The government permitted formal visits by international human rights monitors to the prisons and to individual prisoners. Local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and members of the press made frequent visits to prisons to record conditions.