Work of the Artist Francisco Papas 2012
“The prison administration shall ensure life, integrity and health of inmates … All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human being”
Regulation of the Penitentiary Establishments, Article 6.
The work “DUTY” is written with pieces of charred bone hand on the inmate Jorge Antonio Manriquez Pizarro, who along with 80 other inmates, was killed in the fire at the San Miguel prison on December 8, 2010 due to the inefficient and ill-disposed indifference of the state of Chile towards the living conditions of those who are deprived of their liberty.
“DUTY” (re) writes and gives new meaning to the final phrase of the hymn of Gendarmerie, in charge of guarding the inmates of the Chilean criminal:
Know that in the soul of good watcher there is only a note that says “duty”
This sentence, written with pieces of charred bone, realizes how the concept of debt moves Gendarmerie The charcoal used to handwrite the anthem of the institution outlines a bitter irony around who did not fulfill their duty with that inmate that was in its custody.
“DUTY” is also an outstanding bill, an unpaid absence at the slightest sense of justice that seek gaze mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sisters and couples who are now lamenting the absence of their loved ones.
Then we must say clearly and based on the law that the death of 81 inmates is the responsibility of the Prison Administration under the Ministry of Justice, the organ of the Chilean State.
If we had a transparent access to the total number of deaths from fighting, based on the irresponsible overcrowding that exists today in Chilean prisons, or from diseases and malnutrition caused by the decay of prison infrastructure and the poor quality and limited quantity of food to which the inmates have access to, we would have a sad portrait of the reality lived by those who live in these places and not only we would be lamenting the lives of 81 people but hundreds of people every year.
In addition, it is clear that most indoor fights could be avoided if the Gendarmerie acted in time with a simple change of cells instead of celebrating fights as a hobby. Fights are not born free, or just because of the bad behavior of the inmate, or because inmates are beasts that have no ethics or limit of respect in front of their peers. The concentration camps they inhabit trigger the euphoria of man between the smell of decomposition, sewage, sweat and overcrowding, stuck side by side without being able to move, without space to consume time in real projects of reinsertion and education.
Unfortunately there is no interest on the part of the authorities who settle their tongues speaking of citizen insecurity, violence, delinquency, punishment and hard hand, creating policies and culture of fear, so that society rejects us only because of being poor. They want us to believe that incarcerating the marginalized classes is the solution to maintain the balance of social peace.
It is we who should fear the state, institutions, religions, politicians and governments; Businessmen, the rich, their lawyers and their justice. Fear of abandonment, killing, exploitation and abuse of power in the form of thefts legalized by themselves; Fear we have because they have raped us and mistreated countless times and they are not punished like us who pay minor crimes with confinement, a confinement in which our human rights are trampled, sentenced to death, because in Chile there are still those who die at the stake.
Although Chilean law is clear on issues such as education, rehabilitation and respect for human rights within the debt settlement in penitentiaries, none of the authorities has done anything to oversee the compliance with the human rights deprived of freedom, or to generate concrete projects on education that distinguish man beyond the error or debt to society.
There is no real money in the illusions of reinsertion that only support the same system, perhaps for its cost or because it is immoral to commit with the scum of the society to that they fulfill sentences respecting its basic right to the dignity.
Today, to remain in jail is not to serve sentence, to be subjected to torture, violence and rape.
If there is a debtor this is the Chilean State that must apologize to the families of each deceased in Gendarmerie custody, but above all, its main debt must be amended once and for all and take seriously what happens in inequality that it is the authoritative father of all death.
In what concerns the Chilean prisons, the state should create conditions for inmates to live with dignity and respect, so that education and reintegration into society can be possible when regain their freedom.
Carbonized bone of the former inmate Jorge Manríquez Pizarro (JMP) framed in a box of 30x20x 5
Chain with metallic cross and pieces of burned skin that carried JMP at the time of the fire framed in a box of 30x20x5
Extract of Gendarmerie anthem written with JMP human charcoal framed in box of 40 x 57×7
Technical data of the work framed in box of 30x20x5
Space painted black with light and directed to the pieces.
Chair in front of the pieces with hanging fanzine.
The half-letter fanzine contains 12 pages with biography and photos of inmate Jorge Manríquez Pizarro, an artist’s text, a journalistic text on the tragedy of the San Miguel prison and two poems.