The Franklin Masacre Survivors

Experience our photographers’ unique views on detention by browsing the picture gallery below. These photographers have generously shared their portfolios with us

Carlos Hernandez photographed the men who survived Franklin Masacre’s reign over the General Penitentiary of Venezuela.

©Carlos Hernandez
A group of inmates of the General Penitentiary of Venezuela (PGV) rests in the overcrowded infirmary of the 26 de Julio facility, adjacent to the PGV, after having been evaluated by medical staff from the Ministry of Penitentiary Services. – ©Carlos Hernandez
Two prisoners in surgical masks, suspected of having contracted tuberculosis in the PGV, share a bed due to overcrowding in the infirmary. – ©Carlos Hernandez
©Carlos Hernandez
©Carlos Hernandez
©Carlos Hernandez
Jerson Ronarcho undresses for an inspection by the National Guard. All he owns are the clothes on his back: two t-shirts, underwear, shorts, a pair of pants and Crocs shoes. As he removes his clothing, his malnourished state is evident. – ©Carlos Hernandez
Apart from his clothes, Jerson Ronarcho's survival kit includes a tupperware container, a plastic drinking cup and a copy of the Holy Scripture. – ©Carlos Hernandez
Jerson Ronarcho walks past a line of National Guardsmen, leading the first group of prisoners to be taken by bus to another prison. – ©Carlos Hernandez
Jerson Ronarcho, the first to board the bus that will take him to another prison, is not shackled to another inmate. Once onboard, following the guards' instructions, he will sit with his head down, neither looking at nor conversing with anyone. – ©Carlos Hernandez
Groups of inmates, sorted by their physical condition and by the prison they will be sent to, await inspection by the National Guard in the prison yard before boarding the buses. – ©Carlos Hernandez
From his post at the entrance of the prison yard, a guard from the Ministry of Penitentiary Services watches over groups of inmates awaiting transfer. – ©Carlos Hernandez
Many of the prisoners who escaped from the PGV came barefoot or with their shoes in extremely poor condition. Some were able to get new shoes before being transferred. – ©Carlos Hernandez
A group of prisoners, the majority of them very young, sits in the prison yard on 26 July, awaiting transfer to other prisons. – ©Carlos Hernandez
Using a single set of handcuffs, authorities from the Ministry of Prisons keep prisoners from the GPV in twos until they are transferred to other prisons. – ©Carlos Hernandez
Prisoners from the PGV await transfer in the 26 de Julio yard, listening to instructions from the guards of the Ministry of Prisons. – ©Carlos Hernandez
A corrections officer handcuffs two prisoners together in the prison yard where they await inspection by the National Guard. – ©Carlos Hernandez
Separated from the rest of the prisoners, this inmate waits for others who will be transferred to the same prison. – ©Carlos Hernandez
An inmate bears the tattoos on his arm and chest: “María” and “Not everything is happiness” – ©Carlos Hernandez
Prisoners emerge from the holding area in the cell-block and into the prison yard, to be grouped before their transfer to other prisons. – ©Carlos Hernandez
A young inmate, severely malnourished, accompanies another inmate on crutches as he gets on the bus. They will sit together but won't be allowed to talk along the way. – ©Carlos Hernandez
©Carlos Hernandez
A national guardsman calls roll to check that all prisoners are onboard. – ©Carlos Hernandez
A national guardsman walks between the prisoners along the aisle of the bus, as one of them, Rainier Fernandez, eyes the camera. – ©Carlos Hernandez
Family members of the prisoners stand outside the 26 de Julio prison for several hours, trying anxiously to get a glimpse of their loved ones as the buses leave the prison. – ©Carlos Hernandez
Family members' reflections on a bus leaving the 26 de Julio prison, as the inmates sit with their heads bowed – ©Carlos Hernandez
©Carlos Hernandez

The police finally intervened October 22, during an airborne operation. After regaining control of the prison, the authorities moved all the prisoners to other institutions

it was incredible that this happened here, in Venezuela, inside a prison, and that those responsible were other prisoners


Carlos Hernandez


Since the age of 10 when his father gives him a Kodak Brownie Fiesta, Carlos Hernandez has not stopped photographing everything that surrounds him, mainly people.

He worked as a photojournalist in newspapers and news agencies, where he learned how to cope with uncontrolled and adverse conditions.

At the end of the 1990s, accompanied by a judge, he participated in the nocturnal inspection of the most notorious jail in Venezuela at the moment: the Catia Flores, famous for its brutal overcrowding. Witnessing his demolition, Carlos knew however that without a thorough reform of the judicial system, this would not change anything.

Twenty years later, after having photographed the prisoners who escaped the horror of the General Penitentiary of Venezuela and his Franklin Masacre, Carlos remains convinced that nothing has changed in the Venezuelan judicial system.