Pope of­fers hope to pris­on­ers in Bo­livia’s no­to­ri­ous prison

Cape Breton Post - - WORLD -

SANTA CRUZ, Bo­livia — Pope Fran­cis urged in­mates at Bo­livia’s no­to­ri­ously vi­o­lent Pal­ma­sola prison to not de­spair on Fri­day as he wrapped up his visit to Bo­livia with a mes­sage of hope and sol­i­dar­ity for those caught up in Bo­livia’s cor­rup­tion-plagued crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem. Fran­cis greeted the in­mates one by one, clasp­ing their hands and kiss­ing their chil­dren, and then lis­tened in­tently as a few pris­on­ers told the sto­ries of how they ended up at Pal­ma­sola. They spoke of their poverty and the ``ju­di­cial ter­ror­ism’’ and abuse of power that lets the wealthy bribe their way to free­dom while the poor lan­guish in prison. In his com­ments, Fran­cis ac­knowl­edged the wretched con­di­tions that the in­mates face: over­crowd­ing, the slow pace of jus­tice, vi­o­lence and few op­por­tu­ni­ties for ed­u­ca­tion or re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. He said Bo­li­vian in­sti­tu­tions need to ad­dress those ills. But he urged the in­mates not to de­spair and to not let their suf­fer­ing lead to vi­o­lence. The As­so­ci­ated Press

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