Saturday 19 June 2021

In Costa Rica 17 Persons Ordered Daily To Preventive Detention

Expats in Costa Rica Frequently Jailed For Fear of Fleeing Country


“Prisión preventiva” (preventive detention) or “Remand” in English,  is the process of keeping a person who has been arrested in custody, during pretrial, differing fundamentally from post-adjudicatory detention, or imprisonment.

Preventive detention can mean imprisonment for some time without a criminal charge. It means that if the government feels that a person being at liberty can be a threat to the law and order, it can detain or arrest that person to prevent him from doing this possible harm.

- Advertisement -

In Costa Rica, the 1998 Criminal Proceedings Code allows for a normal “preventive” imprisonment of 12 months if the person is considered a “flight risk”, but if the case is declared “complex”, it can be increased to up to three years and a half of imprisonment without conviction, or even more in some cases.

According to the Adaptación Social, on average 17 people are remanded each day, spending their time usually in the San Sebastián (San Sebas) jail a few blocks south of downtown San José.

In the period of January and March 2013, Adaptación Social reports that, 42% of the remanded were released in the first 15 days, 31% leaving the detention centre between 16 days and two months, while 27% remained behind bars between 61 days and 10 months.
The cost to maintain people in preventive detention is very expensive, figures showing that it costs US$45 a day to maintain an inmate. A two month stay equals to US$2.700 per each person.

The panorama in Costa Rica prison system is as such as of May 23, 2013: in the country’s prisons there are 13.466 detainees, of which 3.259 (24.2%) had no firm conviction or to say are in pretrial detention. Of that 282 are women.

- Advertisement -

The use of preventive detention by the courts has resulted in prison overcrowding. Currently, there prison system has capacity for only 2.371 persons in pretrial detention, so there is an overpopulation of 37.5%.

The jails with serious overcrowding are in San Carlos and Pérez Zeledón, where overcrowding is 119% and 123%, respectively. In San José’s San Sebastian, a detention centre specifically designed for pretrial detention, there are 273 prisoners over capacity.

By the numbers, one in four being held in preventive detention is for crimes against property, 30% for illegal drugs, 14% for crimes against life, 8% for sex offences, 4% for assaulting or killing women and the remaining 4% for a variety of offences.

Persons held in preventive detention can continually appeal their detention, petitioning the courts for release on bail, for instance, or even dropping of the charges.

In some cases, like that of lawyer Arcelio Hernández, who spent nearly 11 months awaiting trial, make appeals to the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights. Many, however, do not have the financial resources to make such appeals and can end up spending years behind bars while their case makes its way slowly through the judicial system.

Whatever you call it, preventive detention is something of interest to foreign expats in Costa Rica who frequently are jailed for fear they will flee the country despite the years the may have spent in Costa Rica, setting roots like having a family and a business.

- Advertisement -


In such cases, foreigners held in preventive detention confront conditions that are abusive, degrading and dangerous.

Some argue that Costa Rica does not observe the presumption of innocence as required by the Constitution when it puts suspects in prison indiscriminately.

Some prominent names that have spent time in preventive detention include two former presidents, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Echeverría (1998 to 2002) and Rafael Angel Calderón Fournier (1990 to 1994).

On 27 April 2011 Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Echeverría, accused him of having accepted a kickback from the French telecommunications firm Alcatel, which had been awarded a large government contract for cellular phone bandwidth during Rodríguez’s tenure as president, was sentenced to 5 years in prison of his role in the ICE-Alcatel scandal. In 2012 the sentence was revoked amid accusation of prosecutor misconduct and partisan bias

Rafael Ángel Calderón Fournier, accused of receiving money from the Finish firm Instrumentarium in exchange of contracts for the firm with the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social (CCSS), was held in preventive in October 2004. He was later released from jail and was placed under house arrest.

On 5 October 2009 Calderón was sentenced to five years in prison. He walked out of the court room and notified the press that he would appeal the sentence and that he was not running for president in order to focus on his appeal. On 11 May 2011 Calderon Fournier’s appeal was rejected by the tribunal (the so-called Sala III). The judges confirmed the previous sentence. However, they reduced the term to serve in prison from five to three years. According to the Costa Rican law, he can be expected not to serve this time in prison.

- Advertisement -

We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Related Articles

Cuba Plane Crash: Company ‘Had Safety Complaints’

Solidarity and investigations after the accident. Cuban authorities are investigating the...

The Volcanos Of Central America (By Country)

Among the things most loved by travelers to Central America is...


The “rebound” effect boosted growth in Costa Rica’s economic activity

QCOSTARICA - Costa Rica's economic activity registered in April 2021 a year-on-year growth of 8.8%, a figure affected by a “base” or “rebound” effect,...

Since 2018 MECO has received contracts from the State for more than ¢139 billion

QCOSTARICA - Almost ¢140 billion colones (US$227 million dollars) is the amount the MECO construction company was able to snare for public works contracts...

Tourism sector depends on political will for recovery

QCOSTARICA - The future of tourism operators in Costa Rica depends on the political will to approve a package of bills that favors the...

On Monday the vehicle restriction will change, again

QCOSTARICA - In times of pandemic, things change constantly, especially when it is necessary to tighten the belt to reduce the contagion of covid-19. The...

Ortega government accuses imprisoned opponents of receiving money from the United States to overthrow him

TODAY NICARAGUA – The Nicaraguan government assures that the imprisoned political opponents detained on charges of “inciting foreign intervention” are “usurpers” financed by the...

Diseases, weather and low prices hit the orange sector in Costa Rica

HQ - The appearance of pests and diseases, in particular the 'dragón amarillo' (yellow dragon), the impact of the weather and a sharp drop...

Today’s Vehicle Restriction: June 13, “EVENS”

Today, Sunday, June 13, only EVENS can circulate. The measure is countrywide and applied between 5:00 am and 9:00 pm, save for those under the...

Lack of space on Racsa’s hard drive paralyzed immigration consultation at the airport this Monday

RICO's DIGEST - We've all had this happen, your computer's hard drive is full and your computer crashes. But we are not the Radiográfica...

Today’s Vehicle Restriction June 15: 3 & 4 CANNOT circulate

Today, Tuesday, June 15, vehicles with plates ending 3 & 4 CANNOT circulate The measure is countrywide and applied between 5:00 am and 9:00 pm,...


Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.