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Medellín's Mean Streets



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Doing Hard Time
Photograph by Meredith Davenport

Scars from past fights mark an inmate at Medellín's Bellavista Prison. The facility holds 5,000 men—two and a half times its intended maximum capacity. Despite the gross overcrowding, it's one of the safest of Colombia's prisons, thanks to a program called Mesa de Trabajo por la Paz, or Work Table for Peace. This group is made up of prison officials and inmates, including members of paramilitary groups and their leftist antagonists, principally the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Though that's a potentially volatile mix, there have been no murders in the prison in three years, largely because the new group is succeeding in defusing disputes before they end in bloodshed.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Canon EOS 1N
Film Type: Fujichrome Provia 100
Lens: 17-35mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/60 @ f/4
Weather Conditions: Indoors
Time of Day: Midday
Lighting Techniques: Natural light


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