On Easter Island, a peaceful prison that looks like a penitentiary “paradise”

– From Hanga Roa

The Rapanuis – the inhabitants of Easter Island – describe it as a nursery for adults. Or like a hotel. Anything but a prison. Directions to Easter Island Correctional Center (in Hanga Roa, the capital) give an idea of ​​what the locals are referring to: “Follow the path lined with palm trees. Once you arrive at the football field, turn left.”

On one of the most isolated pieces of inhabited land in the world, a handful of people are serving their sentences. There is no watchtower, no armed guards, no security fence (the Pacific Ocean plays this role very well). There is, however, a craft workshop where inmates can use sculptor’s saws and chisels to make small moais (the monumental statues of Easter Island) out of wood.

Once sanded and varnished, they are displayed in an orderly manner in a sales room visited every day by tourists (around 250 per month) who come to admire the works or buy souvenirs. It is the prisoners themselves who welcome them and negotiate the price. With part of the money they earn, they buy fresh tuna or chops which they cook on the barbecue. After all, the residents’ idea of ​​life in this prison does not come from nowhere.

Stopped on the mainland, 3,600 kilometers from the island

Ana Miraji, 40, is one of twelve people who live there. There were six of them a year ago, but the increase in drug trafficking had an effect on the prison population. There is no longer just cannabis on the island: there are now also ecstasy and cocaine.

It was because she was selling cocaine that Ana was apprehended. The Pascuan court ordered her arrest, but when police found her, she was 3,600 kilometers from the island, near the Chilean city of Valparaíso. She was therefore first incarcerated in the prison of this port city, where she served a year and a half of the five years of her sentence: “It’s hell over there.”

When asked what the main differences are, she answers: “We can’t have a refrigerator or perfumes and we can hardly make any money. We won’t leave you

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