Spain bets on mixed gender prisons

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By RockedBuzz 5 Min Read

Male and female prisoners live together in one wing of Spain's Teixeiro prison.  (Photo: AFP)

Male and feminine prisoners reside collectively in a single wing of Spain’s Teixeiro jail. (Photo: AFP)

TEIXEIRO (SPAIN) – In a jail in north-west Spain, one feminine inmate performed soccer with 21 male convicts, as a part of a push in direction of mixed jail life that’s nonetheless uncommon in Europe.

“Let the ball go!” Ambra, a 25-year-old Scot who didn’t need to give her final identify, shouted at one among her male colleagues.

She pushed them as exhausting as she tried to regulate the ball.

“Why ought to jail be the one place with out mixed areas?” she wished to know.

Men and ladies have been dwelling collectively since 2021 in a single wing of the Teixeiro jail close to La Coruna in Spain’s verdant Galicia area.

The purpose is to raised put together the prisoners for his or her reintegration into society when they’re launched.

Twenty of the 55 prisoners in Nelson Mandela’s cell block on the jail are girls.

They and the boys take part collectively in every day actions corresponding to train, group remedy and vocational coaching.

They work and eat collectively.

The remainder of the time, they reside in separate cells though they’re in the identical corridor.

Prisoners should volunteer to be a part of this block and are chosen based mostly on their behaviour.

Prisoners convicted of sexual violence are excluded.

At the canteen, Cristina the prisoner ready meals with different men and women, and on the health club Helga labored out together with her male colleagues.

– ‘Prepare for all times’ –

Considered a reference in Europe for ladies’s rights, Spain has experimented with coed prisons for over twenty years.

There are at the moment 20 mixed gender cell blocks in Spain, the place 202 girls and 925 males take part in joint actions.

That is only a fraction of Spain’s whole jail inhabitants of round 47,000.

But the federal government of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has inspired the nation’s jail system to additional develop these mixed gender cell blocks.

“It is mindless so that you can put together for all times exterior jail with solely half the inhabitants,” mentioned the deputy director of Teixeiro jail, Nadia Arias.

She mentioned coed jail blocks helped inmates modify to being in a society the place women and men reside collectively.

The initiative additionally permits feminine inmates, who’re far fewer in quantity, to entry the companies and applications accessible to males, Arias mentioned.

Ricardo, a repeat offender who has hung out in solitary confinement, mentioned he hesitated when jail directors advised he transfer to the mixed-gender cell block as a result of he had “spent plenty of time with males”.

Now he says he prefers it as a result of there may be much less rigidity.

In an all-male jail block you deserve to guard your belongings, and “a knife battle or a fist battle might result in a unclean look”, mentioned the 47-year-old.

– ‘Good concept’ –

Ambra, the 25-year-old Albanian, mentioned males within the mixed-gender block typically misread her friendliness and assume she’s “attempting to hook up, or one thing like that”.

“So I put up a barrier,” she defined.

Ana Suarez, a advisor at Erguete, a non-governmental group that helps individuals combating dependancy and works with prisoners in jail, mentioned that sexual behaviors occur contained in the jail simply because it occurs exterior”.

The jail presents workshops for inmates on “deconstructing masculinity”.

Prison administration mentioned they’d had “no critical incidents” within the mixed block, which was in “nice demand” from inmates who wished to affix.

Elsewhere in Europe, mixed jail blocks should not widespread.

In neighboring France, for instance, the place incarceration has been approved since 2009, there aren’t any prisons the place women and men are saved in the identical space as Teixeiro.

Men and ladies in French prisons solely combine throughout scheduled actions.

“I feel it is an excellent concept to have women and men dwelling collectively as a result of that is how life is exterior,” mentioned Ambra.

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