With discussions in mind of whether to build a new prison or possibly an auxiliary facility in Lancaster, Robert Field visited the San Pedro Prison in La Paz on June 16th. It was part of a three day tour of the Save The Children projects in Bolivia.
The prison is more like a community, with areas set aside for prisoners and their families. The children attend a nearby school and spouses are permitted to come and go at will.
Approximately 200 children reside at the prison. The inmate population is about 1200.
Most prisoners are allowed free access to the extensive common areas. There are small stores operated by inmates. There are lounges where inmates watch movies on television.
Prisoners wear casual clothing rather than uniforms.
Very little violence is reported and this is attributed, in part, to conjugal visits and live-in families. Also, the level of recidivism is far lower than in the USA.
Save The Children conducts a program for youth to restore self esteem and assist them in envisioning a productive future.