Self-Governance in San Pedro Prison
By David B. Skarbek
This article appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of The Independent Review


Inmates of Bolivia’s San Pedro Prison are allowed to open restaurants, offer carpentry services, and operate commissaries that serve nonprisoner visitors and any wives or children who may live with them. They also purchase their own prison cells from each other, provide for their own medical care and often their own meals, and adjudicate their own disputes, leaving the prison’s administrators with little more to do than to keep the prisoners from escaping.

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