Photo: Bayamon prison
A group representing friends and relatives of prison inmates in Puerto Rico on Tuesday demanded an investigation into whether the death of an inmate in the Bayamon prison had anything to do with the attacks by guards on inmates seen in a recently-leaked videotape.
Milagros Rivera Watterson, the spokesperson for the organization, said in a communique that in March the Bayamon 200 prison committed “a terrible attack on inmates, during which it is alleged that one of them died.”
“It is inconceivable and reprehensible that in a penal institution in this country acts like these can be committed, in flagrant violation of human and civil rights, against people who are institutionalized serving sentences,” she said.
On Monday, a video ostensibly recorded on March 21 was leaked showing guards at the Bayamon prison pushing around and beating a group of prisoners while the latter were preparing for a search.
Immediately, all sorts of criticism over the guards’ behavior arose and even Puerto Rico’s main opposition party called for the removal of the island’s corrections and rehabilitation secretary, Jose Negron.
“Certainly it is not acceptable for people who are already subject to obedience to be dealt blows. Of course, this is something that has to be proved and the video, without doubt, is fundamental for doing that,” Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said on Monday.
For the moment, Negron has only said that the video images are being investigated and that conclusive results are expected by the end of this week.
The video was made public just days after photos of prisoners at the minimum security Zarzal prison camp drinking beer, using cell phones and even posing with an inflatable doll were published on the social networks.