La Modelo (English: The Model [Prison]) is a prison in Bogotá, Colombia. With 11,000 inmates, the facility is known for its violence. The prison's north wing accommodates left-wing rebels while the south wing has right-wing government supporters and paramilitaries. The area between these two wings is where many killings in the prison take place. Guards do not carry weapons in the prison, although the ones in the guard towers do control rifles. Prisoners from both sides have easy access to guns and even grenades. Members of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) continue to drill in their section of the prison. There are restaurants in the prison and one sponsored by FARC provides free food to left-wing rebels.[citation needed]

On 27 April 2000, 25 prisoners were murdered in fighting. After the killings and the publicity it created the government began to change the prison regime. Many of the private shops were shut down and security was stepped up, although inmates still have access to arms.[citation needed]

In 2016, the dismembered remains of at least 100 prisoners and visitors were found in drain pipes at the jail.[1]

On 21 March 2020, at least 23 prisoners were killed and 83 injured during a riot which erupted amid fears over spreading of SARS-CoV-2 through prison walls during the COVID-19 pandemic.[2] Prisoners across the country were protesting against overcrowding as well as poor health services ever since the outbreak of COVID-19.[3]


  1. ^ "Colombian prison drain pipes yield over 100 dismembered corpses". Japan Times. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  2. ^ "Colombia coronavirus: 23 killed in prison riot". Al Jazeera. 23 March 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
    - Vera, Amir (28 March 2020). "23 dead in prison riot in Colombia prompted by coronavirus fears, Ministry of Justice says". CNN. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  3. ^ "At least 23 killed in Colombia prison unrest". BBC News. 23 March 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2020.

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Coordinates: 4°38′9.4734″N 74°6′27.8382″W / 4.635964833°N 74.107732833°W / 4.635964833; -74.107732833