With more than 600,000 inmates behind bars, Brazil has the fourth-largest prison population in the world after the United States, China and Russia, according to Brazil’s Justice Ministry.
By JENNY BARCHFIELD | Associated Press
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — In her sweat-stained Santa suit and soggy cotton-ball beard, Carina Barbosa looked every inch the picture of tropical Christmas cheer — at least until she leaned into the candy cane striped bars of her cell and peered wistfully out.
Barbosa, a 29-year-old who’s serving time for drug trafficking, was one of more than 500 inmates ringing in the holidays Thursday at Rio de Janeiro’s Nelson Hungria prison with religious plays and a cell-decorating contest.
The inmates, who are serving time for offenses from burglary to homicide, spent weeks decking out the cell blocks with holiday decorations they made from objects they have access to behind bars.
Christmas trees were made from strips of green plastic from soda bottles, the presents below out of empty milk cartons swathed in tissue paper. Wreathes were fashioned out of the aluminum plates that prison-issue meals are served on, and the floors were sprinkled with a light snowfall of ground-up Styrofoam. Tropical heat-resistant snowmen were made from white plastic cups, and family members supplied Santa suits and store-bought ornaments.
Each cell of 50 women or more also put on a skit dramatizing biblical stories, with many depictions of Jesus’ life, as well as David and Goliath, giving the prison’s would-be thespians their chance to shine. Voices soared in rapture with the religious songs, and many, many tears were shed.
Ducks on the streets, searching for the escaped killers in New York and teachers protest education reforms in Chile That, and more, in the day in photos around the world.
The day in pictures around the world.
The Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia once housed mobster Al Capone and bank robber Willie Sutton. The 980-cell Gothic-style prison, where massive gargoyles sit menacingly above its high-walled stone entrance, closed in 1971 after 142 years. On April 30, 2014, former inmates reunited to tour the facility and answer questions about their time behind bars.
Inmates perform the Broadway musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” inside Peru’s Sarita Colonia prison.
Nov. 9 Photo Brief: Intangible Chinese culture, Syrian refugees, Body Worlds in Honduras and a Sri Lankan prison riot
Syrians continue to flee their homes by the thousands, a deadly prison riot in Sri Lanka, “Body Worlds” displays its preserved human specimens in Honduras, China cracks down on poorly-managed, intangible cultural heritage and more in today’s daily brief.
The Maryland House of Correction, also known as “The Cut” or “The House” is one of the oldest prisons in the United States, having been in use for 138 years. A prison that was designed for 200 inmates when it was opened in 1879 eventually held up to 1050 men. It was finally closed in 2007 after several violent events, including the death of correctional officer David McGuinn.