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Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 195–211 | Cite as

The Venezuelan prison: from neoliberalism to the Bolivarian revolution

  • Andrés Antillano
  • Iván Pojomovsky
  • Verónica Zubillaga
  • Chelina Sepúlveda
  • Rebecca Hanson
Article

Abstract

This paper aims to give an account of the main changes in the Venezuelan prison system in the last three decades. This period extends from the years of neoliberal hegemony to the period of the Bolivarian revolution, characterized by a strong commitment to redistributive policies, economic regulation and social inclusion strategies. We point out that while the Bolivarian government has adopted a social welfare model, it has continued to rely upon punitive policies that are most often associated with neoliberal governments. We map out this contradiction and discuss the impacts the current government’s penal policies have had on social relations within the prison system. Using ethnographic data we sketch out the social organization and distribution of power that develops when the state loses control of the prison. We show that prisons in Venezuela do not adhere to a disciplinary model, whereby prisoners must submit to an external administration’s intensive surveillance and control. Instead, what has developed is a form of internal governance administered by prisoners themselves.

Keywords

Prison Population Penal Population Social Spending Redistributive Policy National Guard 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The research on which this chapter is based was conducted with support from Ministerio del Poder Popular para el Servicio Penitenciario. During fieldwork we had the support of Alberto Alvarado y Amarilis Hidalgo. Andrea Chacón and Saida Rivas worked on secondary data collection.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrés Antillano
    • 1
  • Iván Pojomovsky
    • 2
  • Verónica Zubillaga
    • 3
  • Chelina Sepúlveda
    • 4
  • Rebecca Hanson
    • 5
  1. 1.Instituto de Ciencias Penales, Universidad Central de Venezuela Instituto de Ciencias Penales, Escuela de Derecho, piso 2Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas Penales, Ciudad Universitaria, Los ChaguaramosCaracasVenezuela
  2. 2.Fundación Tiuna El FuerteCaracasVenezuela
  3. 3.Department of Behavioral SciencesUniversidad Simón BolívarCaracasVenezuela
  4. 4.Department of MethodologyUniversidad Central de VenezuelaCaracasVenezuela
  5. 5.Department of SociologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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