Guatemala National Penitentiary Reform 2014-2024

Guatemala National Penitentiary Policy 2014-2024



The prison system in Guatemala is facing one of the worst crisis in modern history. Due to years of neglect, the set of detention centers are working almost two times over their capacity, so that there is a lack of personnel, equipment, budget and infrastructure. Labor and prison conditions are unsafe, dangerous, poor and unhealthy, not only for inmates but for employees, visitors, and citizens living in the open environment.

Talking about a weakened prison service, is also dealing with social crime, prison escapes, diseases, human rights violations, family destruction, unnecessary economic costs, international sanctions and a wide range of negative effects that affects all of us in general. In other words, everything that happens in prisons, impact on society and that’s why the problem is everyone and the solution too.

On that account, in proposing a solution to this crisis the Vice Minister of the Interior, as a CONASIP president, required the National Policy for Reform of the Penitentiary System 2014-2024, whose main objective progressively transform the institution into a reliable and safe model for society, which achieves efficient rehabilitation dictates the Constitution of the Republic of Guatemala, making it fully responsible for the state institutions.

The participation of IPS_Innovative Prison Systems in this national reform project was developed through the participation of Mr. Pedro das Neves, under the intervention of COMJIB (Conferencia de Ministros de Justicia de los Países Iberoamericanos), and the umbrella of European Commission’s EUROsociAL Programme, and it includes technical assistance and consultancy towards the development of the new penitentiary and reinsertion policy.

This national policy, being currently implemented, includes 10 strategic areas that propose 40 general strategies and 209 specific actions to board the problem in 10 years as an institution and with the support of the different social sectors.



  • To strengthen the work of the prison system through a new administrative and interagency model;
  • To implement strategic axes, general strategies and specific actions to address institutional issues;
  • To put into practice a set of measures that will improve the dignity of prison staff, internal and external security of prisons, inmates’ re-education and social reintegration, and the promotion of social peace;
  • To increase the network of detention infrastructures and to enhance the maintenance of existing ones;
  • To stabilize countrywide detention centers in terms of performance, safety and security;
  • To come closer to international penitentiary quality standards.



COMJIB – Conferencia de Ministros de Justicia de los Países Iberoamericanos

Guatemala Government – General Directorate of the Penitentiary System



European Union, EUROsociAL Programme for Social Cohesion in Latin America

UNODC United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

IPS_Innovative Prison Systems, Portugal



EUROsociAL Programme, European Commission


Time frame