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versión On-line ISSN 1729-8091

EduSol vol.23 no.83 Guantánamo abr.-jun. 2023  Epub 03-Mayo-2023



Zequeira Peña, A. (2020). Penal and penitentiary policy. The regulation of the penitentiary system in the current context of development of Cuban society (Legal - penitentiary glossary). Review

0000-0002-8315-2872Vladimir Naranjo-Gómez1  * 

1Universidad de Guantánamo, Cuba.

In the coherent confrontation of criminal activity, the existence of a solid criminal policy is vital to channel the path to follow in order to counteract with certain effectiveness the complex and dynamic world of crime; from the simplest transgressions of the legal system to the consummation of the most serious crimes, as well as the care of those punished in penitentiary establishments.

Although from the general theory of criminological science the term criminal policy is used to define the set of measures to confront criminal activity, in Cuba it is called penal and penitentiary policy. The book "Criminal and Penitentiary Policy. The regulation of the penitentiary system in the current context of development of the Cuban society (Legal - penitentiary glossary)" has the merit of deepening in one of the no less complex edges of the confrontation to the criminal activity, the treatment to those punished in the penitentiary system.

The author goes from general considerations on criminal policy, to go deeper and deeper, with scientific and legal arguments, into the criminal policy in Cuba, with a marked emphasis on the dimension that this general policy reaches in the penitentiary system, which in short is the central objective that is pursued and achieved with the edition of the book.

From chapter V "Penitentiary policy and its antecedents", the author with some brief ideas on Marti's thought about prisons, divides his analysis, as it almost always happens in this type of valuations, in two great periods, before the triumph of the Cuban revolution on January 1, 1959 and from this historical fact that changed the destinies of the Cuban people towards a more promising future (Zequeira, 2020).

The book only makes brief sketches about the penitentiary regime in Cuba before 1959, to dedicate space and time to analyze the most fruitful period of the deployment of the penitentiary policy in Cuba, which began on January 1, 1959 and extends to the present day, although for logical reasons the book does not address the most recent achievement of this policy as the approval of Law number 152 of 2022 "Law of Penal Execution", and the rescue of Fidel's thought about the integral attention of the penitentiary system, which includes the extension of university education to it.

The law professional, the student or any person that for diverse reasons enters in the study of this interesting book, will find in the didactic order, that chapter VI is divided in five brief moments the main milestones that has had the treatment of the penitentiary policy in the revolutionary Cuba, although in our opinion it is important to consider, in the "Second Moment", the contributions of the thought of the Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz to the development of the penitentiary system, for which it would be useful to approach the speech pronounced by Fidel, on June 6, 1971, in the act for the tenth anniversary of the constitution of the Ministry of the Interior.

With the recognition of the penitentiary policy as part of the State's criminal policy, Chapter VII briefly outlines the three approaches that the author defines as the bases of the management of a prison; to give way in the following chapter to a brief analysis of the relationship between the policy and the Penitentiary Law, asserting that the penitentiary policy reaches constitutional rank for the first time with the approval of the Constitution of 2019, considering what is explicitly established in Article 60 of the Cuban Magna Carta.

The reader should evaluate that according to what is established in Article 60 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, the penitentiary policy goes beyond the framework of penitentiary establishments, by including within it the social reintegration of persons deprived of liberty, therefore, several ministries and political, social and mass organizations participate in its implementation.

The reader will find interesting the "Points of view on a prison", which are presented in chapter IX of the text. Concepts such as "Minimum and Complete City", "Hospital Prison", "Clock Prison", "Laboratory Prison" and "Meteorological Institute Prison" will captivate the motivation of those who approach the reading of the book; with which from a critical point of view one may or may not agree, but it is undoubtedly a contribution of the author to the debate on the complexities of the penitentiary system.

For those interested in penitentiary policy, it will be valuable to know the definition of penitentiary treatment, which is why it is useful that in Chapter X the author provides readers with some of the concepts that have been debated in science and the definitions established by law.

When analyzing penal and penitentiary policy, the evaluation of the principles that sustain the Cuban penitentiary system cannot be absent, an aspect that is rightly addressed in chapter XI of this interesting book. From "Humanism" to the "Individual, differentiated and systemic approach to the educational process", the main principles that sustain the Cuban penitentiary system are explained. In the study of these principles, it is appropriate to review the annex of the Penal Execution Law, which establishes concepts and definitions applicable to this legal body, and defines terms such as humanism, legality, right to defense, among others.

Chapters XII and XIII deal with the main aspects of the organization and operation of penitentiary establishments. Although the objective of these chapters is to go directly to the internal functioning of the penitentiary establishments, the existence of a Head of the Penitentiary System at the level of the Head of the Ministry of the Interior in each province, who directs the integral functioning of each penitentiary establishment, given the existence of more than one in each province, cannot be overlooked, which strengthens the work in this complex task as part of a national system.

The inclusion in the book of a legal - penitentiary glossary has an added value, which is indeed very useful for any reader, but with much relevance for the students of the Bachelor's Degree in Law who will have in their hands an important bibliography to deepen in the study of the topics of the subject of Criminology where aspects related to the penitentiary system and crime prevention are dealt with.

Although the book "Penal and Penitentiary Policy. The regulation of the penitentiary system in the current context of development of Cuban society (Legal - penitentiary glossary)", is predominantly a technical literature of the science of Law and Criminology, it never loses the simplicity of its narrative that makes possible the understanding of the essence of the penitentiary policy in Cuba.

Referencias bibliográficas

Zequeira Peña, A (2020). “Política Penal y penitenciaria. El reglamento del sistema penitenciario en el contexto actual de desarrollo de la sociedad cubana. (Glosario jurídico - penitenciario)”. Ediciones ONBC. [ Links ]

República de Cuba (2022). Ley número 152 de 2022 “Ley de Ejecución Penal”. Gaceta Oficial de la República de Cuba. Número 94.Edición Ordinaria. La Habana. [ Links ]

Received: January 22, 2023; Accepted: March 15, 2023

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