Penas Ciudad Barrios in El Salvador is not an ordinary penitentiary… far from it. It’s basically become a small, contained city for members of the street gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS – 13).
This prison was built for 800 inmates but now houses 2,500 MS – 13 members, exclusively. There are so many members and they are so dangerous that the guards stay outside and leave them in charge of the hospital, rehab, bakery and workshops. They’re left to live their daily lives, which includes tattooing each other for the crimes they’ve committed and their commitment to the gang.
In a recent article by the Daily Mail, London photographer Adam Hinton, who photographed the inmates in 2013, described it more as a dumping ground. “The vast majority of the inmates [are] from the Barrios or slums… a place without hope or opportunity and the gang is the only real option,” he said. “If the authorities catch, you this is the place they literally dump you and forget about you.”
Read the full article here.
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