Lack of Clean Water, Services Endanger Inmates in Nicaragua

Prisons in Nicaragua are massive spreading grounds for Covid-19, according to Amnesty International. While the Ortega administration downplays the pandemic, a lack of safe drinking water and medical services, along with constant overcrowding, have endangered the lives of inmates across the country, the nonprofit group says.

The Jorge Navarro prison complex or “El Modelo,” the largest and oldest prison in Nicaragua, does not provide safe drinking water to those detained, according to Amnesty International’s report that provides details about life inside the prison. Inmates who do not have family members to bring clean water are limited to what the prison provides for them. Each inmate is given a single bucket of water for washing, cooking, and drinking. At the end of the week, the inmates must wash their cells with the same water.

“I’m worried that he will get ill and they won’t tell me,” the partner of one inmate said to Amnesty International. “I’m worried about the issue of hygiene, the lack of space, the food rationing, and the lack of medical attention, which he has not received although we have requested it.”

Along with the spread of Covid-19, drinking non-potable water can lead to a cascade of other health concerns and disease. “La Modelo” houses twice the total capacity of the prison, if not more. Many inmates are political prisoners as well.

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