More than 90 percent of those who are arrested in Bogota, Colombia, avoid prison sentences due to a system riddled with procedural errors, according to a report by El Tiempo newspaper.
Some 9 percent of those detained in the capital end up behind bars, while another 3 percent are placed under house arrest, reports El Tiempo.
There are several mechanisms built into Colombia’s legal code that contribute to the high rate of impunity for criminals. For example, sentencing individuals for consecutive prison terms is not permitted, even for individuals convicted of multiple crimes.
Additionally, crimes that carry a maximum sentence of less than four years are currently classified as “bailable,” which means that individuals accused of these crimes are not incarcerated during their pre-trial period.
Procedural errors are also blamed for the high rate of impunity. The failure of prosecutors to present criminal indictments before the deadline, and errors made by police during the arrest process often prevent conviction, according to a judge interviewed for the article.