Agricultural Production and Labour in the Women’s Prison Farm of El Salvador

Title: Agricultural Production and Labour in the Women’s Prison Farm of El Salvador
Authors: Hidalgo, Jaime
Date: 2014-08-29
Abstract: El Salvador has one of the highest murder rates in the world. The high levels of crime combined with ineffective security sector policies, limited infrastructure and budget constraints have resulted in extremely overcrowded prisons. Prisons in turn have become a visual point of reference for the state of insecurity in the country. In response, and among a series of recent government security reforms addressing the overrun penitentiary system, a number of prison farms have been established in the country. This paper provides an initial exploration of the recently established prison-based agriculture program at the Izalco Prison Farm that introduces women inmates to work in agricultural activities including horticulture, livestock production and food processing with the official goal of providing skills that will help them reintegrate back into society. The goal of this paper is to provide insight into the agricultural production and labour practices of the Izalco Prison Farm. Information collected includes descriptions of the operations of the penitentiary and how the work is linked to the official goals of the program, including a number of different initiatives and approaches intended to reintegrate prisoners and provide future livelihoods alternatives. Data was collected through interviews, informal conversations, field observations, and statistics from the Salvadoran Department of Corrections (DGCP). The findings demonstrate that the model prison farm program, while far from being exemplary in its organization of labour and production, can provide a comparatively positive environment for women inmates where the farm's productivity becomes secondary to the more relevant function of providing a space for self-transformation where new skills, labour initiatives, and innovative approaches could lead to better reintegration into society once inmates gain their freedom.
CollectionDIM - Mémoires // IDGS - Research Papers