Looking from the outside in - people, place and practice

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Iwahig: A Prison Without Walls

I find this place so fascinating. A prison that basically runs itself? Or is it more like a mini-community that has now become a family? We so often believe that those who have done wrong in the eyes of the law cannot govern themselves. They have lost that right. This prison system shows otherwise:

Getty Reportage reports: 

"Iwahig Prison And Penal Farm lies within over 45,000-hectares of land on the island of Palawan in the Philippines. The remarkable thing about this prison is that there are no walls to contain the prisoners and barely a fence to mark its boundary. Given its low security, escape attempts are relatively rare. This may be due to the fact that the inmates are allowed to govern and police themselves to a large extent, but also because many of the inmate’s family’s choose to live at the prison too; giving up jobs and houses and moving the entire family to be near their loved one. As well as the relative freedom of this open prison, inmates are given the opportunity to retrain and can opt to learn a trade within the colony. From farming and fishing, through to forestry, and carpentry. This allows the government to recoup the money spent on the prisoner’s upkeep. Once the government has deducted the monies owed to it, the remaining money goes back to the inmate and their family."

Photos by Giulio Di Stirco

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