San Pedro Prison sits behind San Pedro Plaza–a bustling square in the center of La Paz. Couples sit on benches around a fountain, kids chase futbol pelotas in the grass, and women set up stands for the Thursday through Sunday bread market. Our hostel is on the side of the square opposite to the prison.
At the infamous San Pedro Prison, the inmates are in charge. Though the guards patrol the outside, they do not enter the inside. Within the high walls, San Pedro inmates run their own society. There are wives and children, market stalls, and men selling ice cream, toy trinkets and cocaine. Like the outside world, you need money to get by. Even cells must be bought–if you have no money, you sleep beneath the starry sky.