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Detainees in Panama prisons use architecture to build better lives | ICRC

Detainees in Panama prisons use architecture to build better lives | ICRC

There was only one small window on the wall,
and we would go near it to breathe the air coming in.
It was very hot and overcrowded.Water was in short supply.We all washed ourselves there, it was a mess.
Rice was tossed in, food was tossed in, the tanks broke.
This is our reality, this is what we’re experiencing here.
This is the situation.
Do you think someone can re-enter society like this?
No way.
They are large barracks, galleys,
whose conditions do not meet the minimum requirements
for a person to remain in custody.There was no natural light nor artificial light
for such a large number of detainees.
Materials have arrived,
and we’ve had the chance to sort out
every situation that has arisen in the cell blocks.INADEH provides the technical and practical training.The ICRC brings the experience.
And together we managed to rehabilitate the system.
It used to be hot, and now
we have to wrap up because of how cold it is.
We have water, facilities, urinal, a tub.Now we sleep in beds. It feels better.Everyone there has taken a course.
They are becoming skilled
not only to do a job in prison,
but to do it when released, when they are free.
I feel like a useful person, who thanks to
the knowledge I have acquired, is now supporting others.
That is the mission of the penitentiary system:to socially rehabilitate
through training and educating.
The ICRC made a key contribution, which was involving
the prisoners so they feel part of the process.
The atmosphere changed. The energy changed.I would like to leave this place with the experienceI have acquired and be able to set up,
albeit, a small business.

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