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Interview

Uruguay: rethinking the prison system

It was a risky gamble that paid off for Luis Parodi, director for seven years now of Unit 6 of the Punta de Rieles prison in Montevideo. According to him, “Prison denies debate, and consequently denies life. There are absurd orders all the time.” This unit, which aims to resemble the outside world, stands in opposition to customary prison practices and their stance on punishment. For its director, it’s about rendering the prison world more human while promoting debate and preparing inmates to find work, start a business, or even receive an education. We met with him.

I am responsible for maintaining the absolute respect of inmates and non-inmates alike, and I strive to make this space like the outside world.

In this prison, there are no incentives, only rights. No incentives. It’s fair or it’s unfair. You have the right or you don’t have the right, that’s all.

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