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Artscape
Singing with Murderers
An Argentinian prison choir is transforming the lives of its violent inmates.
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2011 11:01

Filmmaker: Cecilia Hue

Olmos is the most dangerous prison in Argentina with its 2,100 inmates in for robbery, rape and murder. But the sound of hope is flowing from the bars and grim cells, in the form of a remarkable choir.

In 2007, among the horrors of prison life, a choir was set up which is changing the inmates' lives and reducing recidivism rates dramatically.

Psychologist Juan Pablo Diez Ledesma started it as part of a rehabilitation programme. To join, inmates must give up violence, substance abuse and learn 'respect'. In return they get a bed in a dorm where they can live in peace, away from the violence of the prison.

With remarkable access to both the prison and the men inside, we hear the stories of those trying to survive a cycle of violence, those who are turning their lives around, and some who are overwhelmed by the grip of a criminal past.

We get to know the men, their families and gain an insight into the society they come from, exploring what drove them to violent crime and seeing how music is transforming their lives.

As the choir prepares for a public concert beyond the prison gates, it is not only a chance to perform heart-wrenching songs about their own experiences, but also to see the families they have long been separated from.

 

 

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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