Not recommended for under 18s.
The documentary film Penitencia consists of interviews with courageous prisoners who have shared their experiences and conversations with experts and volunteers from different fields. People who remind us that the criminal justice system is failing constantly. It is a matter of justice to maintain the rights of people who have ended up in prison, rights that are not respected.
An open mind is needed to bring about fairer solutions, not basing everything on punishment. The different discourses make it clear that the legal system is characterized by a position of power.
This documentary sets out to open a space for reflection in society and propose a debate on the conditions of exclusions and inequality of a society that sanctions people but does not provide all its citizens with opportunities to live a better and full life. The prison population is ever more impoverished and excluded. This is also a result of the financial crisis, with a high percentage of mental illness and drug dependency. Women, moreover, also suffer a dual stigma: being a woman and a prisoner. They also have fewer opportunities for training, employment and social relations. Penitencia aims to reveal aspects of the prison world that are not well known in society at large.
The Penitencia team visited Breidviet open women’s prison in Oslo, interviewing both inmates and personnel from institution. The Norwegian system has prisons where individual freedom is restricted but they adopt a more respectful and friendly approach from different starting points. Inmates can leave the prison to work and study, and the prisoners and their families have a house nearby where they can share a space and free time.
Spain has one of the lowest rates of crimes committed in Europe, although it is one of the countries that possess most prison sentences. Our jails are full of people who have lost their way while inside, people who do not benefit from suitable programs.