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July 31, 2010 11:51 AM   Subscribe

Romania's Tirgsor Prison (for women), as photographed by six inmates. (mild nsfw content)
posted by edgeways (35 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
I forbid them to use the built-in flash and the digital zoom.

Good rules, great results!
posted by ignignokt at 12:00 PM on July 31, 2010


That's the coziest-looking prison I've ever seen -- is this a minimum security facility, or is Romania's take on incarceration just a whole lot different from ours here in the US? This could be a scene from a slumber party.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:09 PM on July 31, 2010


I noticed quite a few pictures showing scarification on women's arms; it there a significance to this beyond the type of deliberate self harm ("cutting") that people engage in?
posted by MikeMc at 12:13 PM on July 31, 2010


That's the coziest-looking prison I've ever seen

Yeah, I'm sure it's a barrel of monkeys. Or tigers. I mean, who in their right mind wouldn't want to go to prison?
posted by item at 12:17 PM on July 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like this one quite a bit.
posted by item at 12:19 PM on July 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


The prisoners are denied their freedom, not their dignity. There are many more smiles than I expected. A great idea with fantastic results.
posted by domnit at 12:20 PM on July 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


By the way, great find edgeways. If I'd been asked 5 or 10 years ago if I knew what the inside of a Romanian women's prison looks like, I'm not sure I would've answered "No, but I will someday". The internet is kind of an interesting place.
posted by item at 12:23 PM on July 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


A lot of these are really stunning. Great post, edgeways.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:25 PM on July 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm sure it's a barrel of monkeys. Or tigers. I mean, who in their right mind wouldn't want to go to prison?

Yeah, not really my point, though. "Prison" tends to conjure up very different images for me. I suspect it does for most people. Is this an average Romanian prison? If so, I find that very interesting, and wonder how (if) that affects recidivism, for instance.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:29 PM on July 31, 2010


Favorites: 42, 51, 66, 90, 93.
posted by domnit at 12:36 PM on July 31, 2010


It also seems (to my admittedly untrained eye) like many of these prisoners are Roma; is Roma representation in the prisoner populace higher than in society at large?

Good picture, nonetheless.
posted by Fraxas at 12:44 PM on July 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Powerful and good. This is what cameras are for.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:45 PM on July 31, 2010


But if inmates aren't brutalized and infantalized, and forced to live in subhuman conditions, how can they ever pay their debt to society?
posted by John of Michigan at 12:55 PM on July 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


It also seems (to my admittedly untrained eye) like many of these prisoners are Roma

Out of interest, how did you arrive at that?
posted by found missing at 12:58 PM on July 31, 2010


kittens for breakfast: "That's the coziest-looking prison I've ever seen ..."

I take it you haven't seen many European prisons?
posted by brokkr at 1:20 PM on July 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fascinating photos. Thanks.

And I'm also wondering about the scars on their arms. Comment #15 here tried to explain, but I still don't get it:

"they have those scars because whent they are in a fight with someone (usually relatives: housbands..) or police, they cut themeselves in a sign of revenge... very strange i know"
posted by dmit at 1:29 PM on July 31, 2010


Neat. A bunch of the photos made me wish I knew the stories behind them.
posted by Forktine at 2:45 PM on July 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Joey, have you ever been in a Turkish Romanian women's prison?
posted by mattdidthat at 3:58 PM on July 31, 2010


"they have those scars because whent they are in a fight with someone (usually relatives: housbands..) or police, they cut themeselves in a sign of revenge... very strange i know"

Cutting is a form of self-mutilation. The "logic" behind it is complex and can be different for different people. Some people cut because they have low self-esteem, some injure themselves as an alternative to injuring other people, etc.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:24 PM on July 31, 2010


Great fpp. I second Forktine's thoughts; so many stories to be told.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:45 PM on July 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Very interesting pictures.

Regarding the coziness of this prison, I find USA prisons the most scary of the developed world. You will not only be deprived of your liberty, you can expect to be dehumanized, beaten, tortured and exploited as free labor, and this coming from the prison authorities. Then there is prison rape and STDs.

I have a friend, a high-school dropout, who was working a menial job in a European country I will not mention. He got caught committing a robbery. He spent a year in a prison where he became friends with his cell-mate, got dental work done, psychological therapy, and, with the help of the doctors and other inmates, he lost a bunch of weight, quit smoking and got fit. He took English classes, computer skills classes and art classes.

This would not satisfy any of the though on crime people, who seem to be all about punishment and revenge, but this friend put his life in order, got a way better job doing web design, and has been doing well for the last 7 years. I'd call this whole thing a net gain for society.

Can you imagine what would have happened to him in the USA?
posted by dirty lies at 5:20 PM on July 31, 2010 [16 favorites]


...Some people cut because they have low self-esteem, some injure themselves as an alternative to injuring other people, etc.

I believe the act also released endorphins, though if I were to make a sloppy guess I'd say a sizable chunk of cutters do it for the attention. The ones I've known have, at least, and I've somehow known quite a few.
posted by item at 6:27 PM on July 31, 2010


About all I know about European prisons is from seeing movies like The Reader and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and even if they're not representative of prisons in general, they're not nearly as barbaric as the overcrowded cages in American prisons.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:32 PM on July 31, 2010




This link is to a Youtube clip of 'Sivi Dom' a legendary Serbian T.V.series set in a prison. When I was living in Sarajevo I used to watch this show. As you can see, not so cosy!

A lot of the women in the Romanian prison do appear to be Roma. You notice the darker skin color and signs that these women have had hard lives.

A lot of the male prisoners in 'Sivi Dom' are meant to be Roma as well.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 12:55 AM on August 1, 2010


Ooops, here is that link

posted by Katjusa Roquette at 12:58 AM on August 1, 2010




I hope it works this time
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 1:00 AM on August 1, 2010


Katjusa Roquette, the link is against you. :/ Just copy-paste it as text.
posted by dabitch at 3:02 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sivi Dom clip — Katjusa Roquette, this is how you add links.
posted by domnit at 8:23 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whenever I see pictures from prisons that are *not* US prisons, I'm struck by the difference. We strip our prisoners of humanity almost utterly it seems. In even the most squalid prisons in the most impoverished countries in the world, people are allowed to wear their own clothes, eat real food (sometimes brought in by relatives), pursue hobbies, and have contact with the earth.

Prison is awful no matter where it is. Abuses are rampant, no doubt. But it really sucks that US-Americans appear to be the least humane in their treatment of criminals.
posted by RedEmma at 9:26 AM on August 1, 2010


In even the most squalid prisons in the most impoverished countries in the world, people are allowed to wear their own clothes, eat real food (sometimes brought in by relatives), pursue hobbies, and have contact with the earth.

Prison is awful no matter where it is. Abuses are rampant, no doubt. But it really sucks that US-Americans appear to be the least humane in their treatment of criminals.


I think you need to see more non-European prisons. Check out the descriptions and photos in this article, for example, or this, or this. As awful as they are, prisons in the US are far, far from the worst in the world in terms of physical conditions. (What makes the US system so awful is its size, its reach, and its privitization, and of course the conditions are bad compared to more humane systems in some European countries.)
posted by Forktine at 11:48 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was surprised to see that they're wearing their own clothing. Part of that may be budgetary, right?
posted by codacorolla at 5:51 PM on August 1, 2010


Thank you to the ones who helped me with the link function! :)
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:03 PM on August 1, 2010


codacorolla: "Part of that may be budgetary, right?"

No. I haven't heard of a single European country that uses prison suits.
posted by brokkr at 1:58 AM on August 2, 2010


Beautiful images, worth lingering over. Great post.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:16 AM on August 2, 2010


thanks for the correction, Forktine.
posted by RedEmma at 9:24 AM on August 2, 2010


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