San Pedro City-Prison in Bolivia.


Photo: Rafael Estefania, BBC Mundo

BBC Mundo has a neat photo journal of the San Pedro prison, the biggest prison in Bolivia's main city La Paz:

Once you pass the thick walls and the security gates, any resemblance to a normal jail disappears: there are children playing, market stalls, restaurants, hairdressers and even a hotel. It looks more like the streets of El Alto, Bolivia's poorest neighbourhood that sprawls on the outskirts of La Paz, than a prison.

There are no guards, no uniforms or metal bars on the cell windows. This relative freedom comes at a price: inmates have to pay for their cells, so most of them have to work inside the jail, selling groceries or working in the food stalls.

"If you have money you can live like a king," an inmate told me. Money can buy you accommodation in the "posh" sections of the prison - one of the best is Los Pinos. Here, cells are spacious and have private bathrooms, kitchen and cable TV. Outside, they have billiard tables, kiosks selling fresh juice, and food stalls. Cells cost between $1,000 and $1,500 and are bought for the duration of an inmate's sentence.

In the poor areas of the prison, inmates have to share small cells.

Link (Escape from New York [wiki], anyone?)


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