Thursday, April 4, 2013

democratic prison - peru

http://harpers.org/archive/2012/02/all-politics-is-local/?single=1

via

  • Simply a beautiful story of reporting from Peru's largest prison Lurigancho where inmates are allowed to do whatever they want as long as they don't leave the gate. The prison is cut up into twenty housing blocks, with each block run by bosses. Block Seven, mainly the "elite" prisoners, is particularly noteworthy. It is an actual democracy.

    "These men, citizens of two dozen countries, speaking ten or fifteen different languages, have designed, with no help or guidance from the outside, a peaceful form of self-governance, which they have sustained for more than two decades — longer, incidentally, than democratic elections have existed in Peru. I asked dozens of prisoners how the Block Seven system got started, but no one could remember. While the rest of the prison solves its problems with force, in Block Seven, they form an orderly line and cast ballots. Drug mules, traffickers, middlemen, and the innocent — one man, one vote."