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Inside a Bolivian Jail

September 2, 2006
See this BBC "Photo Journal" on the San Pedro Prison in La Paz, where there are no guards or metal bars on cell windows. Inmates, who can live wih their children, have to pay for their cells with money earned from jobs in the prison economy. Some sell groceries, work in food stalls, hotels, or restaurants, while others work as hairdressers, laundry staff, carpenters, shoe-shine boys, or TV and radio repairmen.
"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.
Thanks to Bolivia Web Blog.

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