Coronavirus: Prisoners Make Face Masks During Pandemic

Coronavirus: Prisoners Make Face Masks During Pandemic

Prisoners in Callao, Peru are making cloth face masks to fight Covid-19. The workshop is run by 34-year-old Hernán Leo, who before being imprisoned ran an urban clothing brand called “Lima la Gris”, or “Lima the Grey”, in a reference to the color of the sky in the capital of Peru.

In 2019, after being sentenced to eight years in prison for drug trafficking, Leo took a week to accept his new reality.

Leo then put his workshop into action inside the prison, which allows 12 inmates to work voluntarily through a resocialization program called “Productive Prisons”.

The Callao Prison is not the only one where masks are being made to protect against the virus.

As of July, the prison authorities indicated that more than 141,000 masks had been sewn in 13 other prisons in the country.

The first case of the new coronavirus in a prison in Peru began in the Callao Prison, popularly known as “Sarita Colony”, nicknamed after a Peruvian woman who died in 1940 and to whom many poor people and also prisoners attribute miracles.

As the virus spread, including inside prisons, Leo convinced the authorities that inmates could make masks.

They have produced 5,000 pieces so far made of different colored cloth and gave them to the inmates and also to the guards.

They then began making one-piece olive green suits for prison officers to wear.

According to official data, 288 inmates and 35 prison workers have died from Covid-19.

Peru has 95,548 prisoners of which more than a third have not yet been sentenced.

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