Photographer:Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen
Continent: South America
Project Title: Días Eternos
Project Continent: South America
Project Country: Venezuela
Nominated By: Gilles Cargueray

The crisis of incarcerated women in Latin America fuels crime and violence, disrupting family structures and affecting society. A single woman's imprisonment has far-reaching effects, leaving dependents vulnerable without support.

Gender inequality exacerbates justice imbalances. In El Salvador, harsh penalties for abortion equate it with murder, while in Venezuela, political protests lead to imprisonment. Indigenous Guatemalan women face unfair trials due to language barriers.

Detention centers reflect dire conditions. Suspects endure overcrowded, poorly lit facilities with reported violence and torture. Transgender detainees suffer abuse due to misgendering.

Many plead guilty to escape, but post-conviction, isolation increases, with reduced visits and privileges. Female inmates receive fewer visits, relying on external support for survival.

Despite hardships, bonds of resistance and solidarity form among inmates. Upon release, women face trauma and stigma, lacking support for reintegration and often returning to crime.


LOPANGO SAN SALVADOR - March 8 2021 br Women sentenced to prison for crimes related to gang 18 inside their cell The prison separates the women by gang membership to avoid conflicts and fights The woman in the center Patricia Guadalupe Mac a 50 years old is sentenced to 102 years in prison for extortion and homicide The 228 women in this sector cannot see their families or speak to their lawyers


ILOPANGO El Salvador March 8 2021 Women inside their cell in sector D of the women s prison in Ilopango This sector is only for women who have been collaborators or active in the gang These women have not received visitors in three years and cannot leave their cells for more than one hour daily to receive sunlight


IZALCO EL SALVADOR - March 15 2021 br A group of women pick tomatoes planted at the Granja Penitenciaria Prison Farm The women here are nearing the end of their sentence and deserve to be transferred to this farm for their good behavior They grow crops raise animals and can go out to see their families


Huehuetenango s preventive detention center houses 7 women in total 4 of whom are from indigenous communities in Huehuetenango Guatemala on March 19 2022 Estela 24 years old already sentenced to 25 years for murder is an indigenous woman wearing her typical costume They wear them for special occasions and to attract visitors


A poppy eradication operation operated by military and anti-narcotics police in the municipality of San Marcos Guatemala bordering Mexico is attempting to remove all poppies from the area on March 18 2022 Poppy is the flower from which opium the raw material for heroin is made According to the police an ounce of opium is worth 150 and is bought by Guatemalan or Mexican drug traffickers Families are dedicated to this illegal activity in this area


Poli-Valencia Venezuela - March 2018 The women rest on the mattresses in their cell in the detention center Eternal Days is the description of one of the women already accused of the crime but without the possibility of going to a State prison br


ANA MARIA CAMPOS II PRISON MARACAIBO - December 2018 A group of women fix a volleyball net inside a State prison in Maracaibo Their schedules include playing sports receiving classes motivational and disciplinary workshops and arts and crafts The purpose of these centers is to reform women and avoid relapse They get redemptions if they behave correctly to get their sentence reduced


LA YAGUARA DETENTION CENTER CARACAS - March 2018 Detainees attend an evangelistic event inside the compound The preacher charismatically sermonizes on forgiveness and reflection It was followed by a religious theater play and a shared meal


POLI-ZAMORA GUATIRE - December 2018 Children of the imprisoned population in this detention center wait to enter the backyard where an evangelist theater piece was going to take place


Detention Center La Yaguara - March 2018 A woman poses for a portrait after ironing her hair Beauty has always been essential in Latin American culture In prisons and detention centers women care for their looks even if they do not have mirrors or visitors