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Despite the prison is self-managed, security and administrative management of the prison entrusted to the police. In the pyramid of the prison system, at the back of the interior minister and the director of the penitentiary department there is the colonel-in-chief, the only one who actually lives in the building and, in fact, represents the Bolivian government within the walls of San Pedro. Often they are interviewed by journalist and videomaker and, with same frequency, they are replaced by their superiors.
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.
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.
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.
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 ones through the inevitable phone, only prohibited on paper and for which refills are sold in many commercial activities managed by the prisoners.
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.
Within a niche carved into the wall and protected by a wooden structure, a television with a powerful sound system it offers a little âentertainment to the prisoners, in the yard of Palmar section. Often some viewers are not part of the section but, despite being prohibited, there is a tacit tolerance and shared.
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.
Among the many commercial and craft activities there is a dressmakerâs 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.
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.
Several times a week entering hundreds of liters of smuggled alcohol in San Pedro. Corruption, which is overflowing among the police, it allows the input and feeds a commercial chain, as well, is created. Mostly it is pure alcohol at 96 Â°, manufactured by the bolivian company names Caiman and packaged in aluminum cans of 1 liter with a characteristic purple color. After the resale and consumption of their content, the latter are recycled within the prison and thus become pretty toys sold outside.
Penitenziary organization gives the breakfast and the lunch to the prisoners, in the plazas of the sections. Out of this, everything is by payment. Every is coocked by prisoners in the kitchen of Palmar section.