Ghetto Dreamers

Jail beyond bars

With the approval of the new Penal Code in Ecuador, a new penitentiary system with maximum-security policies was established. The hardening of penalties for drug trafficking resulted in an increase from 4376 prisoners in 2015 to 10,886 due to the possession or sale of drugs. One in every three Ecuadorians are imprisoned due to this crime. Commonly, jails are located in remote areas, far from the center of the city; for inmate families, distance represents a big problem in terms of time and money. This system, along with unfavorable social and economic conditions, and extreme isolation policies such as the prohibition of written letters or photographs, call restrictions, extreme body search for visitors, create a hostile and emotionally fragile environment, where both, prisoners and family members, endure the sentence without a rehabilitation and social reintegration process.