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S. Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Penitenziary organization gives the breakfast and the lunch to the prisoners, in the plazas of the sections. Out of this, everything is by payment. The mess is coocked by prisoners in the kitchen of Palmar section and always it consists in a portion of rice accompanied by vegetables or meat.
Rumors say that a couple of times a week police added psychotropic drugs in the rice to keep under control the aggressiveness and sexual needs of prisoners.
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S. Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Penitenziary organization gives the breakfast and the lunch to the prisoners, in the plazas of the sections. Out of this, everything is by payment. The mess is coocked by prisoners in the kitchen of Palmar section and always it consists in a portion of rice accompanied by vegetables or meat.
Rumors say that a couple of times a week police added psychotropic drugs in the rice to keep under control the aggressiveness and sexual needs of prisoners.
Palmar section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - San Pedro penitentiary is the largest prison in Bolivia and  it is located in the heart of La Paz.
It was built to accomodate 500 inmates but now about 2.500 inmates and 500 of their wives and children live inside the jail. The structure is owned by the Bolivian state and is guarded by uniformed officers of the Bolivian police but the internal management is entrusted exclusively to prisoners.
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Palmar section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
San Pedro penitentiary is the largest prison in Bolivia and it is located in the heart of La Paz.
It was built to accomodate 500 inmates but now about 2.500 inmates and 500 of their wives and children live inside the jail. The structure is owned by the Bolivian state and is guarded by uniformed officers of the Bolivian police but the internal management is entrusted exclusively to prisoners.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - The courtyard is the heart of the sections where, in middle, there is the statue of the Saint Martin. Behind the statue there is a well used as a source of water for washing of mattresses and blankets, for the cleaning of the section, as improvised pool for children and as a punishment for prisoners who commit minor crimes and failures.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
The courtyard is the heart of the sections where, in middle, there is the statue of the Saint Martin. Behind the statue there is a well used as a source of water for washing of mattresses and blankets, for the cleaning of the section, as improvised pool for children and as a punishment for prisoners who commit minor crimes and failures.
Palmar section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - According to the economic resources it is possible to rent a bed in a shared dormitory, in a cell for six, in a cell for two or rent or buy a single cell. Who can not or simply does not want to pay, he has no right to have a bed, to use the services offered by the sections and he can only sleep on the floor of the corridors and in the common areas.
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Palmar section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
According to the economic resources it is possible to rent a bed in a shared dormitory, in a cell for six, in a cell for two or rent or buy a single cell. Who can not or simply does not want to pay, he has no right to have a bed, to use the services offered by the sections and he can only sleep on the floor of the corridors and in the common areas.
Palmar section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - The possibility to watch the television of the section is granted to the members and is regulated by the heads of the section. In the yard of the Palmar section it is located into the wall and it offers a little entertainment to the prisoners. Often some viewers are not part of the section but, despite being prohibited, there is a tacit tolerance and shared.
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Palmar section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
The possibility to watch the television of the section is granted to the members and is regulated by the heads of the section. In the yard of the Palmar section it is located into the wall and it offers a little entertainment to the prisoners. Often some viewers are not part of the section but, despite being prohibited, there is a tacit tolerance and shared.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Inside the prison inmates can manage businesses or work in small activities already underway. The trade, itinerant or in the store, is the primary source of livelihood for many detainees and their families. Inside the prison everything is sold: groceries, used clothes, newspapers, DVDs and televisions.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Inside the prison inmates can manage businesses or work in small activities already underway. The trade, itinerant or in the store, is the primary source of livelihood for many detainees and their families. Inside the prison everything is sold: groceries, used clothes, newspapers, DVDs and televisions.
San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - The so-called “Callejón”, from the Spanish “alley”, is the main gateway to the courtyard entrance and Palmar sections, Guanay, Cancha, San Martin, the Prefectura and the latter, through a security door, the Posta section. During the day the Callejón hosts stands of fruit and vegetable, fruit juices, food shops and small restaurants. At night the alley turns in a true open-air dormitory where the “without section” make beds for spend the night.
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San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
The so-called “Callejón”, from the Spanish “alley”, is the main gateway to the courtyard entrance and Palmar sections, Guanay, Cancha, San Martin, the Prefectura and the latter, through a security door, the Posta section. During the day the Callejón hosts stands of fruit and vegetable, fruit juices, food shops and small restaurants. At night the alley turns in a true open-air dormitory where the “without section” make beds for spend the night.
Pinos section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Section Pinos, which owes its name to a large tree in the middle of his small yard, holds two restaurants, two bars, a soccer field, a billiard room and a study room, now it used as a copy shop. The lack of accommodation available in the prison, because of overcrowding, led prisoners to set up makeshift shelters practically anywhere: attics, stairs and gaps have thus become housing for one or more people, sometimes entire families.
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Pinos section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Section Pinos, which owes its name to a large tree in the middle of his small yard, holds two restaurants, two bars, a soccer field, a billiard room and a study room, now it used as a copy shop. The lack of accommodation available in the prison, because of overcrowding, led prisoners to set up makeshift shelters practically anywhere: attics, stairs and gaps have thus become housing for one or more people, sometimes entire families.
Pinos section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - In each section are placed some pay phones equipped with metered and managed by one or more inmates, required to pay the good section of the revenues. The phone, controlled by the police prison, should be the only system of communication with the outside. In truth, most of the prisoners own a mobile phone with which it can continue to manage relationships with the outside and, if they did, their illicit activities, unaware of the police.
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Pinos section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
In each section are placed some pay phones equipped with metered and managed by one or more inmates, required to pay the good section of the revenues. The phone, controlled by the police prison, should be the only system of communication with the outside. In truth, most of the prisoners own a mobile phone with which it can continue to manage relationships with the outside and, if they did, their illicit activities, unaware of the police.
Palmar section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - The monoblock of Palmar, although it is a collective dormitory, it is equipped with a TV and three electric hot-plates. Television, inside the prison, is a faithful mate of life for the majority of the prisoners and it continues to remain on even when no one looks.
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Palmar section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
The monoblock of Palmar, although it is a collective dormitory, it is equipped with a TV and three electric hot-plates. Television, inside the prison, is a faithful mate of life for the majority of the prisoners and it continues to remain on even when no one looks.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Dozens of liters of smuggled alcohol enter in San Pedro many times a week. Mostly it is pure alcohol at 96 °, manufactured by the Bolivian company names “Caiman” and it packaged in aluminum cans of 1 liter with a characteristic purple color. The corruption is overflowing among the police and it nourishes the commercial chain that has been created.  After the resale and the consumption of their content, the latter are recycled within the prison and thus become pretty toys sold inside like outside.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Dozens of liters of smuggled alcohol enter in San Pedro many times a week. Mostly it is pure alcohol at 96 °, manufactured by the Bolivian company names “Caiman” and it packaged in aluminum cans of 1 liter with a characteristic purple color. The corruption is overflowing among the police and it nourishes the commercial chain that has been created. After the resale and the consumption of their content, the latter are recycled within the prison and thus become pretty toys sold inside like outside.
Palmar section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Among the many commercial and craft activities there is a dressmaker’s workroom manage by 3 three prisoners, which shall make garments both for the prisoners themselves than for external institutions and associations. Genaro, the head of the workshop, he learned to be a tailor in prison and dreams, as a free man, to open his own workshop. In his past, for years, he had always dealt with the cocaine refining process in the Bolivian jungle and he had never done work legally paid.
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Palmar section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Among the many commercial and craft activities there is a dressmaker’s workroom manage by 3 three prisoners, which shall make garments both for the prisoners themselves than for external institutions and associations. Genaro, the head of the workshop, he learned to be a tailor in prison and dreams, as a free man, to open his own workshop. In his past, for years, he had always dealt with the cocaine refining process in the Bolivian jungle and he had never done work legally paid.
Prefectura section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Marcelo, detained for selling cocaine, lives with his wife Roxana and her two daughters in a small cell carved into the base of the stairs in the second floor of the Prefectura section. His wife Roxana is affected by epilepsy, an illness that when it is not treated causes severe and sudden crises. Anti epileptic drugs are too expensive for them and not provided by the national health system, practically inexistent. For this reason Yara, the eldest of the two daughters, often assisting her mother when she is hit by an epileptic seizure and some times taking care of the newborn.
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Prefectura section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Marcelo, detained for selling cocaine, lives with his wife Roxana and her two daughters in a small cell carved into the base of the stairs in the second floor of the Prefectura section. His wife Roxana is affected by epilepsy, an illness that when it is not treated causes severe and sudden crises. Anti epileptic drugs are too expensive for them and not provided by the national health system, practically inexistent. For this reason Yara, the eldest of the two daughters, often assisting her mother when she is hit by an epileptic seizure and some times taking care of the newborn.
Alamos section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - In addition to the shelters and individual cells, there are also common dormitories, arranged to accommodate a larger number of prisoners, because the rent of a single cell is quite expensive and many can not afford it.To convict it is given a bed, a personal locker and the possibility to use the common warming. So, without any rehabilitative logic, prisoners in preventive detention, young thieves and small-time dealers must live side by side with murderers, rapists and drug traffickers.
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Alamos section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
In addition to the shelters and individual cells, there are also common dormitories, arranged to accommodate a larger number of prisoners, because the rent of a single cell is quite expensive and many can not afford it.To convict it is given a bed, a personal locker and the possibility to use the common warming. So, without any rehabilitative logic, prisoners in preventive detention, young thieves and small-time dealers must live side by side with murderers, rapists and drug traffickers.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - The visits inside the prison are allowed for most days of the week and like everything inside the prison are by payment. Visitors are allowed to spend the entire day inside and through an additional payment, even to stay overnight. Who does not receive visits can always reach his loved through the phone. 
The possession of the mobile phone is strictly prohibited inside the prison but it is however widespread among the inmates.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
The visits inside the prison are allowed for most days of the week and like everything inside the prison are by payment. Visitors are allowed to spend the entire day inside and through an additional payment, even to stay overnight. Who does not receive visits can always reach his loved through the phone.
The possession of the mobile phone is strictly prohibited inside the prison but it is however widespread among the inmates.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Security and administrative management of the prison, despite the prison is self-managed, is entrusted to the police. In the pyramid of the prison system, above it of the interior minister and the director of the penitentiary department, there is the colonel-in-chief. He represents the Bolivian government within the walls of San Pedro and among of them he is the only one who lives in the building. Often he is interviewed by journalists and videomakers and, with same frequency, they are replaced by their superiors.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Security and administrative management of the prison, despite the prison is self-managed, is entrusted to the police. In the pyramid of the prison system, above it of the interior minister and the director of the penitentiary department, there is the colonel-in-chief. He represents the Bolivian government within the walls of San Pedro and among of them he is the only one who lives in the building. Often he is interviewed by journalists and videomakers and, with same frequency, they are replaced by their superiors.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Each section is equipped with collective sinks for washing dishes and linen. Some prisoners spend the morning and early afternoon with their hands in the icy water, washing for a few pesos. On the wall above the washbasins, some behavioral standards to which prisoners must abide are mentioned. when this does not happen, they are reported to the competent bodies and sometimes the prisoners are expelled from the section.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Each section is equipped with collective sinks for washing dishes and linen. Some prisoners spend the morning and early afternoon with their hands in the icy water, washing for a few pesos. On the wall above the washbasins, some behavioral standards to which prisoners must abide are mentioned. when this does not happen, they are reported to the competent bodies and sometimes the prisoners are expelled from the section.
Cancha section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Marco, a young twenty year old with a long interval between the recovery community and juvenile prison dreams, as a free man, a future in hip hop music. habitual consumer of alcohol and drugs of all kinds, he wrote his lyrics mostly in prison, where he finds every day a lot of ideas, including the conditions of the detainees and their adventures before his arrest. It is more inspired by Latin American artists and Cypress Hill.
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Cancha section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Marco, a young twenty year old with a long interval between the recovery community and juvenile prison dreams, as a free man, a future in hip hop music. habitual consumer of alcohol and drugs of all kinds, he wrote his lyrics mostly in prison, where he finds every day a lot of ideas, including the conditions of the detainees and their adventures before his arrest. It is more inspired by Latin American artists and Cypress Hill.
Alegria educational center, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Prisoners are allowed to live with their families, including minor children. The children live with criminals and often they are victims of abuse. The educational center “Alegria”, managed by the association “Taller solidad”, is formed by psycologist, professionals educators, volunteers and it gives them the only opportunity to live the life that was stolen. School support for the bigger and nursery for the toddlers, educational trips and health care are just some of the activities that are provided in a totally free to small inhabitants of San Pedro.
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Alegria educational center, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Prisoners are allowed to live with their families, including minor children. The children live with criminals and often they are victims of abuse. The educational center “Alegria”, managed by the association “Taller solidad”, is formed by psycologist, professionals educators, volunteers and it gives them the only opportunity to live the life that was stolen. School support for the bigger and nursery for the toddlers, educational trips and health care are just some of the activities that are provided in a totally free to small inhabitants of San Pedro.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - The roofs of the prison, which are accessed by some cells of the last floor moving a sheet resting on the beams, are used for a variety of activities:drying foods,sunbathing,smoking outdoors and drying clothes . Of this late activity are occupied the mostly of poorest prisoners who, after washing clothes, bedding and mattresses for other companions; they venture on to the rickety sheet metal roofing at about 10 meters above the ground, seriously endangering their lives, to earn only a few pesos.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
The roofs of the prison, which are accessed by some cells of the last floor moving a sheet resting on the beams, are used for a variety of activities:drying foods,sunbathing,smoking outdoors and drying clothes . Of this late activity are occupied the mostly of poorest prisoners who, after washing clothes, bedding and mattresses for other companions; they venture on to the rickety sheet metal roofing at about 10 meters above the ground, seriously endangering their lives, to earn only a few pesos.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Some prisoners in serious financial difficulties are forced to live in the most dilapidated housing in cramped and unhealthy areas. In a cell on the top floor, which is accessed by a small manhole on the top of a steep staircase, the ceiling is made with plasterboard and it is full of holes from which filters rainwater. All occupants of the room, to be able to pay the rent, perform the most menial tasks inside the prison: garbage collection, cleaning of bathrooms and common areas.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Some prisoners in serious financial difficulties are forced to live in the most dilapidated housing in cramped and unhealthy areas. In a cell on the top floor, which is accessed by a small manhole on the top of a steep staircase, the ceiling is made with plasterboard and it is full of holes from which filters rainwater. All occupants of the room, to be able to pay the rent, perform the most menial tasks inside the prison: garbage collection, cleaning of bathrooms and common areas.
Palmar section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Kitchen is located in Palmar section and it used as a punishment for prisoners who commit petty crimes within the prison.They are forced to live and work in the same place and it is run by a prisoner of long standing, known by everybody for his brutal methods.Inmates sleep among the pots and food that they themselves will have to cook, above or under the tables where they will prepare the rations. The hygienic conditions are nonexistent, sometimes in the rice there are droppings of rats and, during the day, the mattresses and belongings of the prisoners are stacked with food.
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Palmar section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Kitchen is located in Palmar section and it used as a punishment for prisoners who commit petty crimes within the prison.They are forced to live and work in the same place and it is run by a prisoner of long standing, known by everybody for his brutal methods.Inmates sleep among the pots and food that they themselves will have to cook, above or under the tables where they will prepare the rations. The hygienic conditions are nonexistent, sometimes in the rice there are droppings of rats and, during the day, the mattresses and belongings of the prisoners are stacked with food.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Manuel Victorio Boggiano,convicted for 15 years for having participated in an armed robbery in which three policemen were killed, is a point of reference for many inmates. Accused of being a militant of Sendero Luminoso, a Peruvian terrorist group of Maoist matrix, it is now an avid scholar and he has definitely put aside his past. He is expert in law and lover of philosophy, dreams of completing his university studies as a free man. Despite his long detention, he is father of three children who live with her mother outside the walls of San Pedro.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Manuel Victorio Boggiano,convicted for 15 years for having participated in an armed robbery in which three policemen were killed, is a point of reference for many inmates. Accused of being a militant of Sendero Luminoso, a Peruvian terrorist group of Maoist matrix, it is now an avid scholar and he has definitely put aside his past. He is expert in law and lover of philosophy, dreams of completing his university studies as a free man. Despite his long detention, he is father of three children who live with her mother outside the walls of San Pedro.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - In the courtyards of the sections is easy to attend a variety of activities and in each of them the prisoners and their relatives, of all ages, are like the bees in a hive and really seems to be in a small town.Works of construction and maintenance, business, craft workshops and sports tournaments are just some of the activities that take place within the prison.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
In the courtyards of the sections is easy to attend a variety of activities and in each of them the prisoners and their relatives, of all ages, are like the bees in a hive and really seems to be in a small town.Works of construction and maintenance, business, craft workshops and sports tournaments are just some of the activities that take place within the prison.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - For a few pesos it’s possible to play pool for an hour or more and the San Martin’s poolroom has 3 tables. Neon lights light up posters depicting half-naked women, landscapes and period photographs. An old television blaring, suspended a few meters above the ground, transmits music video of a little-known local broadcaster.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
For a few pesos it’s possible to play pool for an hour or more and the San Martin’s poolroom has 3 tables. Neon lights light up posters depicting half-naked women, landscapes and period photographs. An old television blaring, suspended a few meters above the ground, transmits music video of a little-known local broadcaster.
Cancha section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - The “Disciplina” - a kind of internal police composed entirely by criminals - it is controlled by “Council of Delegates”, chaired by a prisoner named Victor Hugo Mendoza, the most powerful man in the jail. Among the tasks: to investigate in case of complaint, to stop the brawls and to punish the alleged perpetrators of crimes in San Pedro. They wear ever ybody, except the chief with a white t-shirt, a black tracksuit with a logo: a lion and a unicorn which together hold up a large V and that base themselves on a banner with the inscription “Victorinos”
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Cancha section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
The “Disciplina” - a kind of internal police composed entirely by criminals - it is controlled by “Council of Delegates”, chaired by a prisoner named Victor Hugo Mendoza, the most powerful man in the jail. Among the tasks: to investigate in case of complaint, to stop the brawls and to punish the alleged perpetrators of crimes in San Pedro. They wear ever ybody, except the chief with a white t-shirt, a black tracksuit with a logo: a lion and a unicorn which together hold up a large V and that base themselves on a banner with the inscription “Victorinos”
San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Possession of unauthorized books is prohibited and even more to print and to share them.The only ones who have partially right are the inmates with a permit fo study. A prisoner, student and former typographer, has set up a clandestine printing press and, for a fee, he downloads ebooks from the internet, then binds and sells them for a few pesos. He is currently detained pending trial, accused by a convicted of having committed a murder.
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San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Possession of unauthorized books is prohibited and even more to print and to share them.The only ones who have partially right are the inmates with a permit fo study. A prisoner, student and former typographer, has set up a clandestine printing press and, for a fee, he downloads ebooks from the internet, then binds and sells them for a few pesos. He is currently detained pending trial, accused by a convicted of having committed a murder.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Sometimes who covering tasks inside the jail, he has the right to accommodation.
To the keeper of the infirmary and the guardian of the Educational Center, for example, is allowed to switch to the night in the rooms that they have to clean and to check.Also the poolroom, providing with a small gatehouse designed to control and to put the game equipment, it is become the cell of its guardian who gives it often in exchange for a few small please.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Sometimes who covering tasks inside the jail, he has the right to accommodation.
To the keeper of the infirmary and the guardian of the Educational Center, for example, is allowed to switch to the night in the rooms that they have to clean and to check.Also the poolroom, providing with a small gatehouse designed to control and to put the game equipment, it is become the cell of its guardian who gives it often in exchange for a few small please.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Most of the prisoners of San Pedro was arrested for crimes linked to drug trafficking or they are in preventive custody, that is, to await trial. Many commit common crimes or some are unjustly arrested and in prison some of them become drug addicts.The most consumed drugs is the coca paste, the standing of coca refining process before the cocaine. Who can not afford the purchase of a daily dose, he carries out duties for other prisoners for about ten pesos a day, about 1 euro, that it need for the purchase of two doses.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Most of the prisoners of San Pedro was arrested for crimes linked to drug trafficking or they are in preventive custody, that is, to await trial. Many commit common crimes or some are unjustly arrested and in prison some of them become drug addicts.The most consumed drugs is the coca paste, the standing of coca refining process before the cocaine. Who can not afford the purchase of a daily dose, he carries out duties for other prisoners for about ten pesos a day, about 1 euro, that it need for the purchase of two doses.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - The consumption of drugs is widespread in the whole prison population and the most part of them uses pipettes made by rolling up the silver paper located inside the pack of cigarettes. 
To smoke the coca paste, a greenish paste which precedes the cocaine in the refining process is widespread among inmates who routinely use drugs, as well as inhaling cocaine and smoking marijuana. To Purchase any drugs inside the prison is very easy and the prices are so competitive as to induce free citizens to purchase them inside the penitentiary.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
The consumption of drugs is widespread in the whole prison population and the most part of them uses pipettes made by rolling up the silver paper located inside the pack of cigarettes.
To smoke the coca paste, a greenish paste which precedes the cocaine in the refining process is widespread among inmates who routinely use drugs, as well as inhaling cocaine and smoking marijuana. To Purchase any drugs inside the prison is very easy and the prices are so competitive as to induce free citizens to purchase them inside the penitentiary.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Frotasio Chipana Quispe, Aymara shaman and spiritual guide, was imprisoned from 6 months in the penitentiary of S.Pedro. He is accused of mistreatment by his ex-wife but he professes him innocence and he declares himself the victim of a conspiracy. Among his clients many illustrious members of Bolivian society and according to him, among others, also the President Evo Morales. Inside the prison he continues to do his work: he reads the future, makes shamanic rituals and buildings amultes for the inmates and their relatives.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Frotasio Chipana Quispe, Aymara shaman and spiritual guide, was imprisoned from 6 months in the penitentiary of S.Pedro. He is accused of mistreatment by his ex-wife but he professes him innocence and he declares himself the victim of a conspiracy. Among his clients many illustrious members of Bolivian society and according to him, among others, also the President Evo Morales. Inside the prison he continues to do his work: he reads the future, makes shamanic rituals and buildings amultes for the inmates and their relatives.
Cancha section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Nobody lives peacefully the decision to relocate his family inside the prison. The convict father is mostly a person who has not on a network of help outside the prison or he is serving a very long sentence. Several of them have also been left by his wife which, to marry, she has abandoned also her children. Prisoners who do not live this situation prefers to see the children only on weekends, protecting them as much as possible from the sad prison context.
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Cancha section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Nobody lives peacefully the decision to relocate his family inside the prison. The convict father is mostly a person who has not on a network of help outside the prison or he is serving a very long sentence. Several of them have also been left by his wife which, to marry, she has abandoned also her children. Prisoners who do not live this situation prefers to see the children only on weekends, protecting them as much as possible from the sad prison context.
“Alegria” educational center, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia    - Some children are born inside the San Pedro Penitentiary and they can get out of the prison only to participate in trips organized by the educators who work within the prison, or to go to school and so they spent their entire lives inside prison. The consumption of alcohol and drugs among their parents is very common and it happens not infrequently that the children are not supervised and educated properly.
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“Alegria” educational center, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Some children are born inside the San Pedro Penitentiary and they can get out of the prison only to participate in trips organized by the educators who work within the prison, or to go to school and so they spent their entire lives inside prison. The consumption of alcohol and drugs among their parents is very common and it happens not infrequently that the children are not supervised and educated properly.
Palmar section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - A birthday party is an opportunity to share a few hours of fun and to feel almost free. The news spreads quickly among the prisoners and the the friends of the celebrated arrive with their dish to have a piece of cake.To live the moments rich of humanity and to feel very far from the prison, it is more than thousand therapies. For someone else, however, it is only an opportunity to be able to eat a slice of cake.
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Palmar section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
A birthday party is an opportunity to share a few hours of fun and to feel almost free. The news spreads quickly among the prisoners and the the friends of the celebrated arrive with their dish to have a piece of cake.To live the moments rich of humanity and to feel very far from the prison, it is more than thousand therapies. For someone else, however, it is only an opportunity to be able to eat a slice of cake.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - There are many young people detained in San Pedro and, of these, many are also fathers.To maintain relationships with their families is always a further difficulty to the deprivation of liberty and many couples do not resist at the procedural expectations without any certainty and at the sentences to be served. For new prisoners it is rather difficult to find paid employment and the inability to have an entry complicates the already delicate marital relationships that are created during a detention.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
There are many young people detained in San Pedro and, of these, many are also fathers.To maintain relationships with their families is always a further difficulty to the deprivation of liberty and many couples do not resist at the procedural expectations without any certainty and at the sentences to be served. For new prisoners it is rather difficult to find paid employment and the inability to have an entry complicates the already delicate marital relationships that are created during a detention.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - In Bolivia, one of the largest producers of cocaine in the world, the convicts from other countries are overwhelmingly linked to drug trafficking. Many Colombians, for example, the most experts in the processing and refining of cocaine, recruit their personnel in Bolivia, poorer than neighboring Colombia. Some, for the same reasons, relocate their production and transfer directly in Bolivia, mostly in the area of theYungas and the Chapare,in the department of Cochabamba.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
In Bolivia, one of the largest producers of cocaine in the world, the convicts from other countries are overwhelmingly linked to drug trafficking. Many Colombians, for example, the most experts in the processing and refining of cocaine, recruit their personnel in Bolivia, poorer than neighboring Colombia. Some, for the same reasons, relocate their production and transfer directly in Bolivia, mostly in the area of theYungas and the Chapare,in the department of Cochabamba.
Pinos section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - The restaurants inside the prison represent one of the most common business activities. With just a few pesos, from 5 to 10 bolivianos – about 70 cents or a two Euros - you can eat a full menu, which consists of a soup, a first and a second.The restaurant of Jose, the former prelate sentenced to 15 years in prison, is one of the most crowded. Its clients are, for the most part, the relatives and friends of prisoners in visit. Its main attraction is the “Sajta de pollo” cooking on visiting days and public holidays.
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Pinos section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
The restaurants inside the prison represent one of the most common business activities. With just a few pesos, from 5 to 10 bolivianos – about 70 cents or a two Euros - you can eat a full menu, which consists of a soup, a first and a second.The restaurant of Jose, the former prelate sentenced to 15 years in prison, is one of the most crowded. Its clients are, for the most part, the relatives and friends of prisoners in visit. Its main attraction is the “Sajta de pollo” cooking on visiting days and public holidays.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - At 6 p.m. in the days of visit and at 4.30 p.m. in the “dias de basura”, that are the days when the garbage is picked up, the gates of the Penitentiary are closed and the access is prohibited both personnel and to people visiting. After the list, the call is done by prison guards on visiting days and during waste disposal, the courtyards are empty and the inmates close to their cells. Dinner is not distributed and, who can, he should organize themselves to provide the last meal of the day.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
At 6 p.m. in the days of visit and at 4.30 p.m. in the “dias de basura”, that are the days when the garbage is picked up, the gates of the Penitentiary are closed and the access is prohibited both personnel and to people visiting. After the list, the call is done by prison guards on visiting days and during waste disposal, the courtyards are empty and the inmates close to their cells. Dinner is not distributed and, who can, he should organize themselves to provide the last meal of the day.
San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Five days a week it is possible to receive visits from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays it is allowed to enter without distinction of sex and, normally, they are the days when families get together. Mondays and Thursdays are the days of the women, while on Wednesday the access is restricted to men only.The police are instructed to monitor the inputs and searched at the entrance but not at the exit. Inside the penitentiary, built to accommodate 500 people, will live beyond 2000 adding detainees and family.
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San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Five days a week it is possible to receive visits from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays it is allowed to enter without distinction of sex and, normally, they are the days when families get together. Mondays and Thursdays are the days of the women, while on Wednesday the access is restricted to men only.The police are instructed to monitor the inputs and searched at the entrance but not at the exit. Inside the penitentiary, built to accommodate 500 people, will live beyond 2000 adding detainees and family.
San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - One of the most strange works inside the prison are “men-taxis”. They are some prisoners who, in exchange for a couple of bolivianos (about 30 euro cents) accompany the relatives in visit to the cells of their respective or they run around the prison shouting the name of the convict to find. Among them, the most organized, wearing a red jacket with the word “TAXI” on the back. Others are crowded near the entrance gate and they trying to sell small artifacts assembled with pieces of recovery.
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San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
One of the most strange works inside the prison are “men-taxis”. They are some prisoners who, in exchange for a couple of bolivianos (about 30 euro cents) accompany the relatives in visit to the cells of their respective or they run around the prison shouting the name of the convict to find. Among them, the most organized, wearing a red jacket with the word “TAXI” on the back. Others are crowded near the entrance gate and they trying to sell small artifacts assembled with pieces of recovery.
San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - The rations is prepared in the kitchen of the Palmar section, it is divided section by section and it is distributed according to the list of those eligible, which are part of them.The diet consists, for the most part, in a plentiful ration of white rice accompanied by a piece of chicken and some vegetables. Rice, at least a couple of times a week, seems to be added with tranquilizer to calm tempers. In addition to the testimonies of some prisoners, many complain of a strong tendency to slumber only after to have eaten rice.
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San Martin section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
The rations is prepared in the kitchen of the Palmar section, it is divided section by section and it is distributed according to the list of those eligible, which are part of them.The diet consists, for the most part, in a plentiful ration of white rice accompanied by a piece of chicken and some vegetables. Rice, at least a couple of times a week, seems to be added with tranquilizer to calm tempers. In addition to the testimonies of some prisoners, many complain of a strong tendency to slumber only after to have eaten rice.
San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - The alley that connects most of the sections with the entrance courtyard, it is called by the prisoners generally “caiocon”, that is literally the “alley.” During the day it is a place of trade and trafficking and during the night, closed the doors at its ends, it becomes the bed of convicts “without division”, those who can not pay by hardship or by choice and they live outside of the sections and they are not entitled to a bed. In the “dias de basura” the all garbage it is passed through this step to reach the main gate.
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San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
The alley that connects most of the sections with the entrance courtyard, it is called by the prisoners generally “caiocon”, that is literally the “alley.” During the day it is a place of trade and trafficking and during the night, closed the doors at its ends, it becomes the bed of convicts “without division”, those who can not pay by hardship or by choice and they live outside of the sections and they are not entitled to a bed. In the “dias de basura” the all garbage it is passed through this step to reach the main gate.
Guanay Section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - Some prisoners are “without section”  because they do not have the money to pay the membership fee and the rent of the bed or the cell. They live in complete destitution and often they are prey to serious addictions. Some “without section” spend hours trying to earn some money by working, other only ask for charity.  Building makeshift shelters or hide their belongings in the attics or in the cells of their friend prisoners it is a possibility But who has no alternative vague for the corridors and never separates from what he owns, even from his own blanket.
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Guanay Section, San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
Some prisoners are “without section” because they do not have the money to pay the membership fee and the rent of the bed or the cell. They live in complete destitution and often they are prey to serious addictions. Some “without section” spend hours trying to earn some money by working, other only ask for charity. Building makeshift shelters or hide their belongings in the attics or in the cells of their friend prisoners it is a possibility But who has no alternative vague for the corridors and never separates from what he owns, even from his own blanket.
San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia - There are hundreds of prisoners awaiting Judgement and previously imprisoned for years and, when nobody outside the prison fails, paying, to facilitate the bureaucracy; the 3 years of maximum custody dilated even 8 years. About over 2.000 internal prisoners, only the 2% was managed to qualify at the last government pardon and the overcrowded and poverty conditions of the more populated prison in the poorest countries of Latin America, they are each day more dramatic.
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San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia
There are hundreds of prisoners awaiting Judgement and previously imprisoned for years and, when nobody outside the prison fails, paying, to facilitate the bureaucracy; the 3 years of maximum custody dilated even 8 years. About over 2.000 internal prisoners, only the 2% was managed to qualify at the last government pardon and the overcrowded and poverty conditions of the more populated prison in the poorest countries of Latin America, they are each day more dramatic.
El Alto, Bolivia - View of La Paz from the nearby city of El Alto, located at 4,080m s.l.m., the great satellite city of La Paz from which come many humble workers who work in the capital. La Paz - Chuqiyapu in the languages ​​of pre-Columbian natives of ethnicity Quechua and Aymara - it is the seat of the Bolivian Government and the legislative and executive powers. With almost one million inhabitants it is considered the highest metropolis in the world and holds and San Pedro Prison is exactly the heart of the city.

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El Alto, Bolivia
View of La Paz from the nearby city of El Alto, located at 4,080m s.l.m., the great satellite city of La Paz from which come many humble workers who work in the capital. La Paz - Chuqiyapu in the languages ​​of pre-Columbian natives of ethnicity Quechua and Aymara - it is the seat of the Bolivian Government and the legislative and executive powers. With almost one million inhabitants it is considered the highest metropolis in the world and holds and San Pedro Prison is exactly the heart of the city.


San Pedro Jail: the Prisoner’s town in the heart of La Paz

Businesses and shops, churches, kindergartens, soccer elds and tiny houses: a small town, entirely populated by inmates.We are in La Paz, the seat of the bolivian government, where in the heart of the economic capital of the Country over 2.000 prisoners live in an area extensive like a football eld. San Pedro Prison was built in 1895 and it was designed to accommodate no more than 500 people but now it is a tangle of homes and businesses, divided into 7 sections connected by alleys and corridors. The policemen oversee the building and they regulate the access to friends and family in visiting, everything else is completely self-managed by prisoners. The “Council of Delegates” is elected among the inmates by themselves and it manages the life of the prison. At the top of the structure, pyramidal, the President of delegates Victor Hugo Mendoza maintains relationships with prison institutions and with the operators and volunteers who work inside the prison. The State Governament provides with a daily maintenance for each inmate, with which the Council is committed to buy food and basic necessities. The roles, within the prison population, are well de ned and everybody must pay a montly fee to their section and they are obliged to work in the same for community works, without payment, when it is necessary. Every prisoner can provide for themselves and for his family by working and it is possible to live together in the same cell, including minor children. In theory it is a great example of direct self-government, free-market and an excellent alternative to the alienating imprisonment of penitenziary systems in which we are accustomed. Well, but the reality of San Pedro is not just this. Imagine a city where, for the most part, there are criminals and the majority of them are were arrested for drug traf cking and smuggling; where the murderess has got more respect then the honest person and where the rapists suffer extorsion by the section and, for this, they are not isolated and removed by the collective, but they live in the same because they are a source of income; where every inmate is obliged to pay a sum for the entrance in the section, for the rent of the bed in a collective cell or the rent of the single or doble cell, at the contrary: he became a “without section” and he can sleep under a covered on the oor of some cold and wet alley or in a common big room; where payment for a working day is around one euro and those who complain are beaten up before by the “Disciplina”, a kind of internal police composed by inmates at the service of the Council and then punished to work, now without payment, in the prison kitchen harassed and humiliated every day. For those with dependency problems, then, it is not to be better. “This place is the hell and the heaven at the same time”, says Patchoul, an old consumer in his fourth arrest for drug dealing.“A paradise, because there is everything you need: cocaine and coca paste, marijuana, alcohol and prostitutes; and all cheaper than outside. An Hell, because you can never stop, and every time you come out, you are always worse than when you were entered. “ This is San Pedro, really, a place where the police corruption allows all this and even, until a few years ago, authorized guided tours within the prison.The most populated penitentiary in the poorest Country of Latin America, where child labor is legal and where a policeman earns the minimum wage guaranteed by the constitution and, despite the declared socialist system, even health care is private and the capital is the only means for social mobility. In this Country life is hard, as it is also hard to live in jail, what else does not seem that the metaphor of Bolivian society: a good idea that is going bad.
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