A prison in El Salvador is currently being run by its inmates. The Ciudad Barrios prison in southern El Salvador holds around 2500 prisoners at the moment, which is three times as many prisoners as it was designed for. Security guards have decided to limit their area of work to the outside area of the prison, while Mara Salvatrucha members make sure that things stay in order inside.
This is Carlos Tiberio Valladares, a leader and spokesperson for the Mara Salvatrucha gang. Valladares uses his power to make sure that fellow gang members follow a truce that was signed between his gang and the rival 18th Street gang.
These pictures were taken by Adam Linton, a British photographer who recently visited the prison. This was his impression of life inside the Ciudad Barrios prison: ‘The men stand around aimless with nothing to do except kill what seem like an infinity of minutes, hours and days.’
The prison has a serious overcrowding problem. For instance, this cell currently holds seventy prisoners, while it was designed to house twenty. Some of the prisoners have found ways to accommodate more people, like make-shift hammocks and beds that hang from the roof.