In Bolivian prisons, the more inmates who read, the more…

In Bolivian prisons, the more inmates who read, the more…

by Mariana Grazzi

When reading to be free is no longer just a saying. THE prisoners in the prisons of bolivia may lessen your punishment a few days or even weeks reading books. A piece of news that warms hearts, even the driest of understanding and solidarity towards people who, by mistake, spend part of their lives behind bars. And the program in question refers precisely to these, as the information site AJ+ explains, “books behind bars“, which is inspired by a similar project carried out in Brazil.

two goals

The objective is twofold, and both are noble: to promote literature and to help people exceed the period detention Program participants read the books and do comprehension test of reading to obtain certificates that are equivalent to a ‘penalty discount’. A recluse, who adheres to “books behind bars”He declares:“ When I read, I am in contact with the whole universe. The walls and bars disappear. That’s exactly what a local ombudsman says is the goal: Even if the shortened period of detention isn’t much, it helps inmates not feel trapped when dealing with the country’s slow judicial system.

In Bolivia, prisoners can read books to shorten their sentence: a way to give them basic training and life expectancy

detained workers

“Here there are people, for example, who are learning to read – the intern follows the microphones of AJ + -. They enter [in prigione] not knowing how to read or write. books behind bars It gives us the opportunity to learn how to do it.” For every book read, inmates usually receive a certificate of 40 hours of free time. But the length of the book can also change the number of certificates you get. The ‘guests’ of Bolivian prisons are also forced to get food and pay court costs. That’s why they work for some clients outside the prison, cooking, washing and sewing for them, earning around $1 an hour. “The first moment you can have books with you and the next moment they can disappear while you are working,” explains another prisoner. People here throw the books, or they can burn them or just take them, because they know we love them. That is why it is a great sacrifice to link ourselves with these volumes in a place like this.”


For prisoners in Bolivia, each book is worth a 40-hour ‘penalty discount’

a life expectancy

More than 800 inmates are part of the program, which was launched in 47 prisons who do not have funds for education, reintegration or social assistance programs. Nadia Cruz, ombudsman, says: “We have seen the situation in the prisons, beyond what is seen outside, with all the problems and complaints that exist in our prisons. There are women and men with very little life expectancy or to develop their life projects”. Prisoners in Bolivian prisons exceed maximum capacity by 270% due to the slowness of the judicial system. Therefore, just giving them the opportunity to dream of another life, to immerse themselves in the fantastic world of the written word, and the possibility of making that dream come true with them, is a great little goal. It is a starting point, because it is never too late to start over.