The following is an excerpt from Jo Griffin | May 22, 2018 | BBC.com |
On the first day in her new cell, Tatiane Correia de Lima did not recognise herself.
"It was weird to see myself in a mirror again," says the 26-year-old mother-of-two who is serving a 12-year sentence in Brazil. "At first I didn't know who I was."
The South American country has the world's fourth largest prison population and its jails regularly come under the spotlight for their poor conditions, with chronic overcrowding and gang violence provoking deadly riots.
Lima had just been moved from a prison in the mainstream penitential system to a facility run by the Association for the Protection and Assistance to Convicts (Apac) in the town of Itaúna, in Minas Gerais state.
Unlike in the mainstream system, "which steals your femininity" as Lima puts it, at the Apac jail she is allowed to wear her own clothes and have a mirror, make-up and hair dye.
But the difference between the regimes is far more than skin-deep.
The Apac system has been gaining growing recognition as a safer, cheaper and more humane answer to the country's prison crisis.
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