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SAN PEDRO PRISON


Héctor Mediavilla

San Pedro prison in La Paz is home to about 1,500 inmates. Few of the inmates here are convicted killers - 80% of them are here for drug-related offences (law 1008). Only about 25% of all prisoners are actually serving a sentence - the rest are awaiting trial. There is an overpopulation in this prison where health conditions are not the best. About 200 children live in the San Pedro prison with their fathers. There are almost 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.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.


 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0082551

A convict of La Muralla section in his cell. Inmates that comit faults of behaviour are separated from the rest in two punishment sections: La Muralla and La Grulla, where comfort is extremely low.

La Paz, La Paz, Bolivie - 22/09/2006

Only for distribution in France and Belgium. Autorisation orale uniquement.

 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0265644

Public telephones inside the prison. On the wall, there are several advertisements of cells to let or to sell.

La Paz, La Paz, Bolivie - 22/09/2006

 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0082562

A prison's yard where football matches take place. Every sector has a team and tournaments are held regularly, with bets of more than $20,000 a year. Good players are sought after and signings by teams from the wealthier sections are not unheard of.

La Paz, La Paz, Bolivie - 22/09/2006

 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0265642

View from one of the cells of Los Pinos section.

La Paz, La Paz, Bolivie - 24/09/2006

 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0082549

Ariel is one of the inmates that lives in La Grulla sector. Inmates that comit faults of behaviour are separated from the rest in two punishment sections: La Muralla and La Grulla, where comfort is extremely low.

La Paz, La Paz, Bolivie - 22/09/2006

Only for distribution in France and Belgium. Autorisation orale uniquement.

 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0265643

Graffitti on a wall of San Pedro prison.

La paz, La Paz, Bolivie - 23/09/2006

 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0082553

Andrés Gasa, a convict of Chonchocorito sector, in his cell. Chonchocorito is the high security sector of the San Pedro prison, where the most dangerous prisoners are kept.

La Paz, La Paz, Bolivie - 24/09/2006

Only for distribution in France and Belgium. Autorisation orale uniquement.

 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0082552

About 200 children live in the San Pedro prison with their fathers. The younger ones go to one of the two nurseries inside the jail, while the older ones go to schools outside. Outside they suffer discrimination - inside they are afraid of violence and sexual abuse. Their mothers are often in other jails or have abandoned them.

La Paz, La Paz, Bolivie - 21/09/2006

Only for distribution in France and Belgium. Autorisation orale uniquement.

 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0082924

A "charanga" of a group of inmates of San Pedro prison takes a break after living up the party that continues since the evening before. Today is one of the celebration days of La Merced virgin, the patron saint of the inmates, so there are different activities like "charangas" (music bands), dances and masks.

La Paz, La Paz, Bolivie - 24/09/2006

 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0082907

Ernesto is a Catalan man who was caught at customs with 3 kilograms of cocaine. He is been paying his sentence since 2 years.

La Paz, La Paz, Bolivie - 24/09/2006

Only for distribution in France and Belgium. Autorisation orale uniquement.

 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0082914

A drug addict in one of the cells of the Mayo sector. Drug traffiking and consumption is rather usual inside the prison. A cocaine base dose costs 2 bolivianos (20 euro cents) whereas a litre of 93 degrees alcohol costs 150 bolivianos because it is much dificult to smuggle into the jail.

La Paz, La Paz, Bolivie - 21/09/2006

Only for distribution in France and Belgium. Autorisation orale uniquement.

 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0082720

Drugaddicts in room number 8 of Mayo sector. Drug traffiking and consumption is rather usual inside the prison. A cocaine base dose costs 2 bolivianos (20 euro cents).

La Paz, La Paz, Bolivie - 21/09/2006

Only for distribution in France and Belgium. Autorisation orale uniquement.

 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0082702

El lobo, a drug addict in one of the cells of the Mayo sector. Drug traffiking and consumption is rather usual inside the prison. A cocaine base dose costs 2 bolivianos (20 euro cents) whereas a litre of 93 degrees alcohol costs 150 bolivianos because it is much dificult to smuggle into the jail.

La Paz, La Paz, Bolivie - 21/09/2006

Only for distribution in France and Belgium. Autorisation orale uniquement.

 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0082627

Some convicts smoke cocaine base and drink alcohol in the balconies sector. The one on the right side has put ilegal alcohol in his coca coca bottle, the other one has a mental disease.

La Paz, La Paz, Bolivie - 26/09/2006

Only for distribution in France and Belgium. Autorisation orale uniquement.

 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0082620

Some convicts smoke cocaine base and drink alcohol in the balconies sector. The one in the middle has a mental disease that has become worse due to drug consumption. San Pedro prison, the biggest in Bolivia's main city, La Paz, is home to about 1,500 inmates. Few of the inmates here are convicted killers - 80% of them are here for drug-related offences (law 1008). Only about 25% of all prisoners are actually serving a sentence - the rest are awaiting trial.

La Paz, La Paz, Bolivie - 26/09/2006

 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0265821

A convict walks inside the prison.

La Paz, La Paz, Bolivie - 20/09/2006

 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0082633

An inmate stands behind the bars of the prison entrance. He is one of the "taxis" who searches a particular inmate when a he has visitors. It is a common practice among inmates in order to get some coins.

La Paz, La Paz, Bolivie - 22/09/2006

Only for distribution in France and Belgium.



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