Mon, Apr 01, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Venezuelan inmates open jailhouse nightclub: report

AFP, CARACAS

Venezuelan inmates have opened their own nightclub and hosted friends and family at an inaugural bash complete with strippers and a light-and-sound show, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

The late-night party highlighted the plight of the crime-ridden country’s overcrowded penal system, where criminals often use bribery and intimidation to exercise virtual control over the facilities built to incarcerate them.

The so-called “Yacht Club” at a prison on Margarita Island in the Caribbean boasts “professional sound, spectacular lights, air conditioning, strippers, ‘bad girls’ and all the toys,” the inmates wrote in an invitation to their opening night gig, El Universal newspaper reported.

The party was attended by friends and relatives of the detainees, who publicized it through messages on social media, the newspaper reported.

It quoted sources in the Venezuelan Ministry of Corrections — which has not yet commented publicly on the incident — as saying that the party lasted from Thursday night until the early morning hours on Friday.

Venezuela has one of the highest crime rates in the world and its prisons are plagued by overcrowding and violence that claimed the lives of nearly 600 inmates last year.

The Venezuelan Prison Observatory, a non-governmental agency, estimates that the jails house 48,000 prisoners, nearly three times the official capacity of about 16,500.

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