j) Testimony of Estanislao Balbuena Jara, prison guard at the Center The witness has worked as a prison guard for the Ministry of Justice and Labor since 1991. He continues to work with juvenile offenders and has never mistreated an inmate. A complaint was once lodged against him alleging torture and mistreatment on his part, but in the trial it was proved that “the charge was false.”
He worked in the administrative offices, at the entrance to the establishment. He was not a guard inside the Center and did not have contact with the inmates. He worked a 24-hour shift, then had 48 hours off.
At the time of the February 2000 fire, he was on vacation, but he witnessed the 2001 fire. The inmates rioted because they wanted to be transferred to the Itaguá Education Center and thought their transfer would be hastened by rioting. The inmates set fire to the ceiling with mattress stuffing. No one was injured or burned, but they did destroy such things as the gates to their cellblock, the computer rooms, the school and the medications in the dispensary. When the firefighters arrived the situation was already under control.