“I hope that at least five thousand people will be released,” the president told reporters.
He added that the move aims to “end overcrowding by the end of the year, thus providing a more conducive environment for security and social rehabilitation within prisons.”
The 65 prisons in Ecuador accommodate about 30,000 inmates, but they currently hold 39,000, including 15,000 who have not yet been sentenced, meaning that the overcrowding rate is up to 30%.
More than 320 prisoners were killed in 2021 in riots blamed on rival drug cartels in Ecuador, which lies between Colombia and Peru, the world’s top exporters of cocaine.
On Monday, Lasso signed a decree outlining the terms of the amnesty, which, according to local media, targets prisoners accused of theft, fraud and breach of trust.