Legalise the San Pedro Prison Tours

by Dee
(Cape Town)

First : No - I did not do the San Pedro tour (way too savvy as a 50yr old solo female traveller through all of S.America in 2006) but every youngster I met wanted to. (Call me naive, but their motive was mainly curiosity above cocaine?)

Some young folk I made friends with chose a prison tour over my choice of day trip to Tiwanaku.

So, my 2-pennies worth being written from the southern tip of Africa (Cape Town) : SAN PEDRO PRISON IS A DE FACTO MAJOR TOURIST ATTRACTION - SO WHY NOT LEGALISE THE TOURS??

This would remove the corruption aspect, and surely satisfy the best of all needs?
e.g. i) Prison & Prisoners can set the entrance fee. Portion for apparently dire need prison building maintenance; and a little for elected / qualified (?) guides. ...and the tourists can continue to contribute to the prison economy buying food etc. or bringing gifts.

ii) Drug searches / tests can be done on exiting tourists - and those who liked the prison cocaine so much can get their prison visit extended - for a long time.

By the way - I subscribe to the idea of incarceration - but not retribution and the San Pedro system of allowing families to live together strikes me as humane, and having greater merit than horrors-bestowed-on-the-children?! What an interesting and worthwhile social study it would be to really quantify the prison child abuse vs that in the impoverished districts.
And a Question : I have a great curiosity to know whether the San Pedro pool is really used by prisoners for metering out punishment to rapists and child abusers?

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