Thursday, May 30

[Letter from Lima] | All Politics Is Local, by Daniel Alarcón

This is such a foreign world to us Kannu. We live in a bubble where people like Avi only appear in magazines or in news stories. But we are locking up more and more people. They need to be locked up. They need to be tried. They need to be rehabilitated. And and. Interesting society we are raising. 



[Letter from Lima] | All Politics Is Local, by Daniel Alarcón | Harper's Magazine

Single Page

To understand a place like Lurigancho, it’s best not to dwell on words like prison or inmateor cell, or on the images these terms generally connote. The 7,400 men who live in Lurigancho, Peru’s largest and most notorious penal institution, do not wear uniforms; there is no roll call or lockdown or lights-out. Whatever control the prison authorities have inside Lurigancho is nominal. They secure the gate to the prison, and little else.

The complex’s twenty housing blocks can be divided roughly into two sections: the better-off inmates live in El Jardín (the Garden), the odd-numbered blocks. The greenery withered long ago, but the name and its cachet have remained. Many residents carry the keys to their own cells and are free to wander the grounds as they wish, though some prefer not to leave the relative calm of their territory. The other side of Lurigancho is known as La Pampa (the Plain), the even-numbered blocks, home to thousands of accused murderers and petty thieves. The density here can be twice that of El Jardín, the conditions unsanitary and often violent.

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