Thursday, October 13, 2011

The New Prison, the New School / Luis Felipe Rojas

The New Prison, the New School / Luis Felipe Rojas
Luis Felipe Rojas, Translator: Raul G.

Numerous facilities which functioned as schools decades ago are now
being used as detention centers in the Eastern province of Holguin.
Until recently, in the municipality of San German, some secondary
schools were being used to keep inmates which worked in the agricultural
programs established by the Ministry of the Interior. Others continue
to still be used as prisons of "less severity", as the regime calls them.

Prisoners are transferred to such centers from their "major severity"
centers like the Provincial Prison, Playa Manteca, and El Yayal ("Cuba
Si") as part of a phase change. The schools of rustic architecture have
been restructured to accommodate such prisoners but facing certain
difficulties, including the fact that most these places are situated on
or very near small rural neighborhoods such as Los Naranjos, Sabanilla
Norte, and Sain, which make up the former "sugar producing colonies"
which were also surrounded by the extensive Cauto River. The
inhabitants of these neighborhoods have seen how their safety has
deteriorated with the increase of robberies, violence and fights among
interns, attempts of harassment, and violations.

These institutions included youths under the title of "scholarship
holders" under the principal of combining work and study, but the
deterioration of the economy and immigration towards the cities brought
a considerable descent in secondary level and middle level enrollments,
bringing the decline of rural educational centers.

With this procedure, the Cuban government has not stayed true to one of
its fundamental premises which was a slogan they constantly shouted in
1959, that of converting barracks into schools.

Translated by Raul G.

6 October 2011

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