Contributor(s)Venezuelan Prison Observatory | Prison Insider


In 2015, Venezuela became the most violent country not at war in the world. Although there are no official statistics, the Venezuelan Violence Observatory (Observatorio Venezolano de Violencia, OVV) counted 27,875 violent deaths that year. Venezuelan prisons are also affected by this trend; the Venezuelan Prison Observatory (Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones, OVP) counted 109 dead and 16,417 injured during the first half of 2015.

The Ministry of Popular Power for Correctional Services (Ministerio del Poder Popular para el Servicio Penitenciario, MPPSP) introduced the “New Prison Regime” in 2013 to regain control of the country’s prisons, which were governed by armed gangs. This regime, which imposes military discipline on inmates and prohibits the use of weapons, has not yet been implemented in all prisons in the country.

2015 also saw the implementation of the People’s Liberation Operation (Operación de Liberación del Pueblo, OLP), a security operation carried out by civilian and military forces. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the NGO Venezuelan Human Rights Action Educational Programme (Programa Venezolano de Educación Acción en Derechos Humanos, PROVEA), 8,000 arbitrary detentions and 125 extrajudicial executions were carried out.

The economic and social situation has worsened considerably in recent years. The country suffers from shortages of food, medicine, water and electricity, among others. This general crisis has a significant impact on the quality of life of the prison population.

Country population



Type of government

Presidential federal Republic

Human Development Index