Five time Pulitzer Prize nominee, Photojournalist Jon Kral is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. To see Jon’s portfolio of work click on any image.
Latin Prisons Hell On Earth © Jon Kral
In 1996 violent riots were increasing within the prisons throughout Latin America. The reasons are easy to see, if you can get inside some of these dank, dirty, stinking buildings where young men are thrown together to serve time.
People spend years in these horrible places before they are sentenced for their crimes. And, their crimes can be as simple as loitering, drinking, or just being poor and in the wrong place. In this world, the prisoners are often more heavily armed then the guards, human rights do not exist and money is the only thing that greases a system so clogged and corrupt that changes for the better seem almost impossible.
Arrangements for photographing inside the Venezuelan prisons took months and once inside, a writer and I were given a superficial tour. Working as a team, we managed to get into areas the guards intended to hide.
Then I saw for myself what one prisoner told me: “It’s a lot worse then any movie you’ve seen.”
Especially sensitive about their international image, Venezuelan officials moved quickly to respond to these photographs. One of the worst prisons was demolished a couple of months later. Nearly 600 prisoners were transferred to a newer prison outside of the city.
By Jon Kral