This Venezuelan Prison Lets Inmates Dance, Drink And Shoot Guns
On Venezuela’s Margarita Island, you’ll find a prison that is nothing like you have ever seen. When you think of prison, you probably think about handball courts, free weights and solitary confinement cells. That’s not what goes down at San Antonio prison, which functions more like a resort that a typical correctional facility. It gives inmates so much freedom that some of them willingly return after their release.
This goes down at San Antonio prison. Seriously.
That’s New York Times footage of inmates dancing to music played by a DJ. Yes, a DJ. In a prison.
The prison also has an annex for women, and the two sexes are allowed to commingle.
The prison also features conjugal rooms set up for visits from significant others.
Prisoners can access luxuries like oysters for lunch, or hammocks for lounging around.
“I found a restaurant, I found a place with barbecued chicken,” one inmate told the New York Post. “There are places to drink. It is not like a prison.”
They can also take a dip in a pool… or play a little pool.
Drugs are openly consumed in San Antonio prison.
Any drug from marijuana to crack is available and openly consumed in the prison.
But don’t let the party atmosphere fool you. Violence is still a problem at San Antonio Prison. They openly carry guns after all.
Despite the fact that prisoners carry guns, inmates told The New York Times that compared to other prisons, “peace often prevails” in San Antonio.
Teófilo Rodríguez Cazorla, El Conejo, is the man behind this prison’s particular atmosphere.
As an inmate, he took over the prison by force and became its “Pran,” or boss. El Conejo told The New York Times the prison was a total disaster when he first arrived. He said there was no respect among the inmates, so he changed things up.
Earlier this year, El Conejo, who was still a prisoner, was killed outside of a nightclub. To honor his death, prisoners in San Antonio prison gave him a salute… with gun fire.
Here are the armed guards near the prison during El Conejo’s send off.
Check out dude in the bottom right corner. Clearly this isn’t his first run-in with the party prison. #BossLevel ?
But Iris Valera, who is the person in charge of the Venezuelan prison system, defends the culture within the prison.
Yep, that’s her with the late Teófilo Rodríguez Cazorla. She told Argentine news agency Infobae that opening a “nightclub” and allowing for an improvement in the quality of life is how Venezuela is trying to keep prison violence low.
Inmates appear to enjoy the hedonistic atmosphere. Like this prisoner told SBS Dateline:
“Yes. We’re prisoners but we live well.”