Prison rights activist Carlos Nieto, who leads the non-governmental organization Una Ventana a la Libertad, had said before the transfers that La Planta prison was built for about 350 prisoners but housed about 2,600.
Similar problems exist at prisons across the country. In all, Venezuela's prisons were built to hold about 12,000 inmates, but officials have said they hold about 47,000.
When asked how other prisons would cope with the influx of inmates moved out of La Planta, Varela said: "there is space in other detention centers."
Nieto disputed that, saying no other Venezuelan prison has room to accept more inmates. "Improvised measures like this are only going to worsen the crisis that exists in other prisons," he said.
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