Wednesday, November 15, 2006


The guy on the right is a craftsman; he is also a prisoner; his works are on display at a special festival organized by, Palmasola, the state penitentiary in Santa Cruz. We normally associates prison with crime. This guy apparently has managed to get his creative juices flowing in prison. Jail is not an impediment for those who want to get ahead in life. Is it any surprise that he is my Bolivian hero? The language of rights does not exist in prison. Its easy to get bitter. Not this inmate. He is making the best of a "bad" situation. The Bolivian justice system is notoriously slow and inefficient. Judges can be bought. Some languish in prisons for months without having their cases tried.

The warden recently announced that they were opening a soap making factory in the prison. Most of these products are exported to the US and Japan. These initiatives provide great therapy for the prisoners and provide income for some of them. Prision should not only be a place for punishment but also a means to rehabilitate.

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