On November 2, inmates at UAI Reinaldo Villalobos Zúñiga, had front row seats to witness an important event in Costa Rica’s history – the first presidential debate to take place in a correctional facility.

Organized by the University of Costa Rica’s Center of Political Investigation and Studies, School of Political Science, and Interdisciplinary Commission for Penitentiary Justice,  the debate aimed to make visible the concerns and needs of a population traditionally excluded from participating in the electoral process.

Inmates also participated in developing the debate questions.  In the months leading up to the debate, students and teachers from the University of Costa Rica helped to facilitate consultation workshops that included 200 inmates from correctional facilities around the country. The process resulted in the systematization of more than 200 questions on various topics, including: criminal policy, education, poverty, unemployment, and human rights.

About 300 inmates attended the event alongside university representatives, members of the Ministry of Justice and Peace, and special guests.

Learn more: Costa Rica Comprehensive Care Units Represent a Change in Culture for Prison System

(UAI Concept Rendering) CGL developed detailed space programs and functional requirements for each of the facilities and assisted the design team in developing housing unit layouts, facility concepts, and campus adjacency requirements.