Mauricio, 34

Meet Mauricio…

Mauricio, 34
Incarcerated: 2 years
Housed: La Paz Maximum Security Prison, Itagui, Medellín, Colombia

Diane: I want to hear about your tattoos because I hear you’re an artist.

Mauricio: My tattoos, well, I’m a professional tattoo artist. That’s what I do here. This is what brings me a bit of calmness and lets me feel removed from all the issues and troubles. 

Diane: What part of being an artist makes you calm?

Mauricio: One way is the sensation of the other person being happy with the tattoo when I finish and to see their reaction and happiness. Also, it doesn’t allow me to overthink things outside. I’m focused for a lot of hours on the tattoo. I tattoo myself when I’m super stressed.

Orlando, 52

Meet Orlando…

Orlando, 52
Incarcerated: 1.5 years
Housed: Itaguí, Colombia

Orlando: I’ve been back and forth between New York and Colombia. Familia is everything. They’ve been helping me since I came to jail. Everything I have here is because of them. My mother, my cousins and my sisters are very important to me.

Diane: When you say help, what does that mean?

Orlando: Money. The system is different here. You have to pay for everything. For my soap, my towels, blankets… You have to pay for everything.

Diane: What about food?

Orlando: We pay for everything. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Diane: Is there any way to make money in here?

Orlando: No. 

Diane: What’s the hardest thing about being here?

Orlando: We are like 355 guys, and the place is built to house 100. Every time I go to sleep, it’s impossible, because I’ve got like six or seven different guys on top of my bed, my pillow, kicking me, so it’s impossible to sleep.

Diane: How big is your cell?

Orlando: It’s a hallway- I sleep in the hallway.

Diane: What do you worry most about during the day?

Orlando: The guys fight for everything in here. If you get out of line, if you do something stupid, if you talk to somebody or try to help somebody it’s a problem. I’m not a young guy anymore.

Diane: What gives you motivation everyday?

Orlando: My daughter.

Diane: Tell me about her.

Orlando: She’s living with her boyfriend right now. She’s only 18 years old. I’m worried about drugs; there’s a lot of things outside that could change a lot of things for her, and I don’t know what her boyfriend is doing or if he works.

Diane: Where does she live?

Orlando: Thirty-five minutes from here. 

Diane: Do you get to visit with her?

Orlando: No, she just got the cell ID, so I’m waiting for her.

Diane: Once you’re released, where will you go?

Orlando: My hometown about twenty minutes from here.

Diane: What do you miss the most about being outside apart from your family and your daughter?

Orlando: I miss my bike.

Diane: How is life in prison different than how you thought it was?

Orlando: Crazy. You find that in here people are crazy or trying to be crazy. Poor minded. 

Diane: What have you learned about yourself in here?

Orlando: Patience. Tolerancia.

Orlando, 52

Meet Orlando…

Orlando, 52
Incarcerated: 1.5 years
Housed: Itaguí, Colombia

Orlando: I’ve been back and forth between New York and Colombia. Familia is everything. They’ve been helping me since I came to jail. Everything I have here is because of them. My mother, my cousins and my sisters are very important to me.

Diane: When you say help, what does that mean?

Orlando: Money. The system is different here. You have to pay for everything. For my soap, my towels, blankets… You have to pay for everything.

Diane: What about food?

Orlando: We pay for everything. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Diane: Is there any way to make money in here?

Orlando: No. 

Diane: What’s the hardest thing about being here?

Orlando: We are like 355 guys, and the place is built to house 100. Every time I go to sleep, it’s impossible, because I’ve got like six or seven different guys on top of my bed, my pillow, kicking me, so it’s impossible to sleep.

Diane: How big is your cell?

Orlando: It’s a hallway- I sleep in the hallway.

Diane: What do you worry most about during the day?

Orlando: The guys fight for everything in here. If you get out of line, if you do something stupid, if you talk to somebody or try to help somebody it’s a problem. I’m not a young guy anymore.

Diane: What gives you motivation everyday?

Orlando: My daughter.

Diane: Tell me about her.

Orlando: She’s living with her boyfriend right now. She’s only 18 years old. I’m worried about drugs; there’s a lot of things outside that could change a lot of things for her, and I don’t know what her boyfriend is doing or if he works.

Diane: Where does she live?

Orlando: Thirty-five minutes from here. 

Diane: Do you get to visit with her?

Orlando: No, she just got the cell ID, so I’m waiting for her.

Diane: Once you’re released, where will you go?

Orlando: My hometown about twenty minutes from here.

Diane: What do you miss the most about being outside apart from your family and your daughter?

Orlando: I miss my bike.

Diane: How is life in prison different than how you thought it was?

Orlando: Crazy. You find that in here people are crazy or trying to be crazy. Poor minded. 

Diane: What have you learned about yourself in here?

Orlando: Patience. Tolerancia.