What is America's most violent prison

Honduras

Reading workshops in Honduran prisons.

Considered the most violent country in the Central America region, Honduras was rated the most violent country in the world in 2013 with a high crime rate and high impunity. Human rights organizations have often stressed that the wave of violence to which the whole population is exposed cannot be contained by tightening sentences and judgments.

Everything is relatively calm; the Hondurans are very happy to be at the 2014 World Cup. The streets are paved with hawkers selling national team shirts. The Hondurans have found their way of having fun and partying in a lively atmosphere. However, there are areas and places where people watch the football game behind bars. Every moment they fear that a group Maras could break into this calm.

With that in mind, we have that Center for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for victims of torture and their families (C.P.T.R.T.) visited. It is about a NGOwho has worked with inmates in various prisons across Honduras for many years.

There are a total of 24 prisons in Honduras. The largest of these is the Marco Aurelio Soto National Prison, which has 2,832 inmates. A total of 11,945 people are serving a sentence in the 24 prisons. Many national and international human rights organizations point out that the prisoners have to live in a very confined space, as the prisons have no capacity in their infrastructure and the crime rate has risen.

For the C.P.T.R.T. it was difficult to get to the prisons. There are no rehabilitation or social reintegration programs in Honduras that would help detainees return to life with changed behavior, a basic academic education and other opportunities after serving their sentences.

In Honduras, the median age is 21, 50.1% of the population are women and 49.9% are men. The majority of the population is young. The illiteracy rate is high, at 15.2% of the population over the age of 15. This situation does not contribute to a decrease in crime. The young people fall directly into the clutches of the Maraswhose system of coercion leads children to drop out of school and immerse themselves in the world of crime.

In 2011, the Victims Center, through its Holistic Health Department, launched an inmate education program to give young offenders an opportunity to reflect and improve their chances after serving their sentence. First, a diagnosis was made that found that most of them had only been in elementary school for a few years and an even smaller proportion of them had completed elementary school. They were also found to have numerous mental health problems such as depression and convulsions.

With this in mind, a small initiative has been taken to help them with both of these problems. On the one hand, to improve their educational attainment and, on the other, to keep their minds occupied to cope with the narrowness, punishment, and abuse in prison. With the help of some journalists, 1,000 copies were collected, with which a small library was set up. The campaign also supported artists, especially writers such as Fabricio Estrada and Samuel Trigueros, with poetry workshops and readings. There was also theater and murals created, which gave young people a different kind of leisure time and new opportunities.

Dr. Eliomara Lavaire, the coordinator of the holistic health department of the C.P.T.R.T. reports of decisive changes in behavior brought about by reading and writing workshops in which the inmates expressed their feelings and experiences.

By reading, they were able to reduce their fears and anxieties, as they now devoted their time to educational and relaxing activities. This also reduced conflicts among them (96 inmates share a small cell) and drug abuse.

The testimonials of those involved were collected in a small brochure: “Advice for those who have not yet landed in prison or who have had a bad time in their life”. This insightful Decalogue is a touch of hope that books, reading, and writing have given them. Reading and writing encouraged them to share their experiences to warn others. The anonymous friends express the following through this forum of freedom:
"Educate yourself because that is the basis of your life, your family and your home. If you want to do something wrong, think about it carefully before you do it. Love yourself because you are a unique creation in the universe, yours." God the Father created you and is taking care of you to bring you back home one day. "

"We conclude that life is not easy when you are born in third world countries like ours, where young people are exploited in work and trade from an early age. The advice to young people would be that they should Primary and secondary school should make the most of them, that they should be obedient and disciplined at home, in school and wherever they live, that they should look for a place where they can grow and feel spiritually at ease, that they should be determined Peace, harmony and happiness should be sought, that they should report those who deserve it (or those who sell drugs to young people and circulate them among them) and that they should say no when they are offered something forbidden, because these things are harmful to people and those around them. "

The Center for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for victims of torture and their families (Centro de Prevención, Tratamiento y Rehabilitación para las víctimas de la tortura y sus familiares) does not have the means to maintain a permanent reading program in the prisons. Yet there is a belief that this model can be liberating and help build a prison culture with a reforming spirit, thereby improving opportunities that these youths did not have before they became delinquent.

Since 2011, the experience of donating books and reading and writing workshops has not been repeated. This year a project will be formulated within which funds will be sought from international organizations that promote the culture of peace and respect for human rights. You will start like the last time: with a first book.