and Situation 

by Martín Amande

As a human being, student and prison inmate, over the course of my life I have been through a lot of different situations which have taught me that nothing happens by accident, everything has a meaning.

Prisons are one of the hardest total institutions, where those of us who go through it are pierced by an endless amount of situations that are far away from reality and also far from the provisions of Article 26 of the Uruguayan Constitution. A person cannot be rehabilitated if you isolate them from society, if you prevent them from being in contact with their loved ones, or if you dehumanise them.

As a university student, I have come to realise of the meaning and the purpose of prisons. It is important to understand that ignorance makes us tame and manageable, which is why education is the most important tool to reinsert inmates into society.

Architecture is a part of this system. It is what we see, what we live, and where we live, so its importance cannot be ignored. The new construction of a prison in Punta de Rieles (Unit No.1) goes in the opposite direction of what the world thinks a prison should be. On the other side of the fence there rises a shocking, cold, concrete monster which is omnipotent to everything around it.

There are big differences between both systems, one which allows us to be and do, while the other one uses every control mechanism available and naturalises violence and humiliation to “rehab”, forgetting that the only thing that enables us to thrive are relationships and the awareness that we live in a world that sometimes we do not understand.

In this photographs, I tried to portray some of the things that myself and many others believe in. This is why most pictures are in open spaces where we meet, share our views and ask ourselves where we come from and where we are going.

Photography allows us to show our situation as it is. 

Martín Amande is from Montevideo, hi is an inmate of Unit n. 6 of Punta de Rieles, a psychology student at the Universidad de la República Oriental del Uruguay. He is also an activist and a founder of the Cooperativa de Vivienda Resiliencia and the cultural center Matices Culturales

Images by Martín Amande for Prison to Prison.