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It's just a small prison, but a hard one—the Carcel Distrital in Bogotá, Colombia.
Every day, the prison staff of 170 ensures stern discipline and order within the red brick walls. Their batons are loose, and the inmates have to line up to be counted several times per day. Unannounced raids bring out a number of forbidden objects. This strict approach is necessary. The nearly 1000 inmates aren't used to rules.
Outside, they did whatever they wanted. In here, they try the same. Gangs, drugs, weapons - this prison has it all. In particular, it has a great many problems. Every day, fights for power usually end in severe injuries.
The inmates not only turn their weapons against others but also against themselves. Many imprisoned here cannot stand their lives. Injuring themselves is a way to handle their hopelessness.
Others can only suffer life in prison by taking drugs. Getting them is easy. The location of the Carcel Distrital facilitates smuggling. One good throw over the prison walls and the drug package is inside the yard.
The gangster bosses do their business and make their money in prison – also by blackmailing other inmates. If it comes out, they will be put in isolation for a few days. That's the worst punishment for the prisoners. The prison within the prison makes their despair even worse.
All of them share one goal: turning their backs on the harsh life in prison and never coming back. A goal that few will achieve.
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