I (Vicki Skinner - aka "THE Sarong Goddess") created this blog in 2007 to share DETAILED Finds•Lists•Info•Events•Experiences to help bring more EASE to people living in, visiting or thinking of moving to Costa Rica since DETAILS are NOT easy to find!
I’m NOT an expert (an "expert" 2 ME knows 101%-NOT me). I believe in sharin info•helping where I can! And with over 2,200 entries, so some things might be out of date, so if you find old info PLEASE help each other by getting the updated info & sharing it with me to revise. At least you have some basic info to get you started.
Better yet - do you have extra time on your hands & looking for a volunteer project? Since this blog is a labor of love & RARELY does anyone share a donation (even though MANY have said how much it's helped them), I could REALLY use help updating info. Spanish speakers ESPECIALLY welcome since my VicLish can be somewhat limited at times!!

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

An assessment of what the Costa Rican JAILS are like

It's easy when you have your own life going on - especially if it's a cush little life - to forget about those "less fortunate" out there.  Especially those behind bars.  It's REAL EASY to loose all compassion and play "victim" and point our fingers to the other person and forget where perhaps WE contributed towards what happened n to forget that we're ALL just "wounded children" - some more than others.  But how does that type of action/thoughts make a difference on this planet??

John Franch shared this story/first hand account of the situation in the Costa Rica Jail and I'm sharing it with you in hopes you might open your hearts and remember next time you're judging that person that's down and out or even the bandit!!!!  Putting out negative thoughts to them will ONLY help keep them down & perhaps add to their feeling hopeless/helpless.

"Might YOU have something YOU can do to help someone in jail feel even for a few minutes that there ARE people out there that care!  

In time I'm going to find out their needs & share it here - like I'm SURE they need blankets - especially in December-Januar and the like

I have two friends (one gringo, one tico) in San Sebastian Penitentiary in San Jose that i maintain ongoing contact with. One is serving 12 years, for a crime for which he probably would have received 3 years in the States based on their sentencing guidelines, and the other has been awaiting trial for over a year. If convicted, he will likely end up with many years.

This post is to bring to the attention of CRL members, not the individual circumstances of my friends, but of the sad conditions in this prison, which houses close to two thousand prisoners. It is a story
of life in a third world country. I am told the guards and administration of the prison are reasonable people, that there is no horrendous tale of torture or sadism -- but i also see that prisoners live what we would call a remarkably spartan life.

Prisoners are allowed visitors one day a week, rotating Saturdays and Sundays, so half of the "prison pop" gets visits on each day. Of that half, roughly 60% actually get visits. The rest have no one visiting them, for whatever reason.

When i visit, i get there at about 5:30am, so that when visiting starts at 8am, i am one of the first to get in. Visits end at 11am, and those who come at 8am get in at 9:30 or so (due to the lengths of the lines), and have only 1 1/2 hours to visit. Some visitors come at 1am or so, in the madrugada, with a sleeping bag, to be first in the visiting line, which is already big when i get there after 5am. By 8am, there are hundreds of people in line.

Later in the day on weekends and on Wednesdays, families are allowed to bring food and clothing -- those lines, too, are long. Were it not for families bringing in food, the prisoners would have very, very poor diets. And again, this is not because of cruelty -- it is a third world country. I watch prisoners sharing the food their families bring in on weekend visits (and it is always offered to me and other visitors as well). And consider this -- there are not enough beds for all the prisoners. Some sleep on pads on the floors, and those who have beds sell them to newer prisoners when they are discharged.

So i am asking myself what is the point of this post. First, to tell everyone this is not Kansas. I have visited many prisons in the States as part of my work, and they are vastly different from here. Second, i am prompted in part by the recent stories of having to make an appointment at the Embassy, as opposed to standing in line. Consider for a moment the technology and the cost and manpower involved for the world-wide appointment system at every US Embassy. And be thankful that today many places in CR now have ticket systems for their lines. And use the time you are waiting in line to learn patience :-)

And finally, if you have the opportunity to help someone here in CR, whether in prison or not, take it."

John French

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