Children in Bolivian Prisons

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Disclaimer: I did NOT take the following photos. I'm not sure who, but someone took them when we visited the prison back in 2002. I did, however, edit them the other night!

Children live in the Bolivian prisons.

When a mother in Bolivia goes to prison, she brings her children along with her. Of course the kids aren't required to stay there, but they often do. They can come and go; some still go to school during the day.


The first time that I came to Bolivia in 2002 I had the opportunity to visit a women's prison. It was heartbreaking to see the conditions and the number of children living there, but encouraging to see the work that missionaries were doing.

Honestly, I had kind of forgotten about that visit until recently. The other day I saw an article in the paper about children in Bolivian prisons. According to the article, over 1000 children live in prisons throughout the country, the majority of them here in Santa Cruz. Of those, 70% are under age seven. Lie in prison is rough for the children. Rooms are small, bare, and often house more than one family. And if the kids do venture out of the prison, they are faced with discrimination.


Despite those gloomy statistics, the article gave me some hope. The government is evidently proposing a program aimed at protecting children in prisons. In my opinion, the Bolivian government is terrible at offering any services to the people, so this is a big deal! It would address issues such as education, health, and equality.

I cannot quite imagine if this system was in place in the United States or other highly developed countries. Children have no place in prison. They shouldn't have to pay for their parents' crimes. But then again, I suppose there is something to be said for keeping the family united. Please join me in praying that this government programming truly makes a difference!
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