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The destiny of imprisoned women in El Salvador has remained largely neglected and undiscussed. Imprisonment fuels crime and violence, destroys families, and affects the society through how criminals are judged, crimes are investigated, and minorities are treated.

Imprisonment disproportionality affects women as the breadwinner of their families. In El Salvador, abortion is punished with sentences up to thirty years. Alejandra was imprisoned for having a miscarriage when she was eight months pregnant. Her first daughter was one year old at the time. Alejandra served ten years. A year ago, her daughter passed away. "All those years lost in prison without being with her, and now I don't have her."

Despite their vicious situation, women form an extraordinary bond and show resistance. They share everything: food, mattresses, clothes, and tears. To escape from detention centers—hoping for a better life in state prison—many plead guilty, even the innocent ones. Guilty of abortion, gang membership, drug trafficking, or extortion. After conviction women become increasingly isolated, as they are not allowed to receive visitations or phone calls.

The penitentiary system lacks adequate support for women to be reintegrated into society. Without hope, jobs, and a supportive network of friends and family, women are likely to rejoin gang life or commit crimes after their release.

Recently expanded from Venezuela to El Salvador, Días Eternos intends to unravel the causes and consequences of female imprisonment in Latin American society. This project has the support of El Pais.

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Criminal Justice

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