Women imprisoned with their children

Adriana Lestido

Argentina is one of the few countries where an accused or prosecuted women has the right to be with their child in prison until he or she is two years old. Then she loses her parental authority over the child and the judge in charge decides his or her destiny. Sometimes when the time is a short one, until the end of the sentence, the child may remain with the mother until she recovers her freedom. But, if the sentence is a long one, and there is no close relative to take charge of the child, he or she is temporarily adopted by another family or sent to an orphanage.

These photographs were taken in the prison No. 8 of Los Hornos, La Plata. During a whole year I visited it regularly every week to take pictures of women in prison with their children. I soon learnt that my ideas of this situation were far too romantic. The children who share the jail with their mother, even though they might be very important for her, play a secondary and silent role. It is difficult at first to know who is who's son. Some are loved and cared for, others are ill treated. They are the only possessions women in jail can have: children for two years.

Adriana Lestido

Adriana Lestido lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina,
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