Stories from the inside #2


"Anabel" tells her story in her own words. She prefers to use an alias, as some of her family members do not know that she is in prison. She is wearing a Carcel sweater. 

My name is "Anabel", I am 24-years-old. I come from Madre de Dios. In my family we are 13 brothers and sisters of whom I am the youngest.

I am accused of aggravated robbery. I have been in prison for 2 years and 2 months now.

The truth is that I am accused of a crime that I never committed, but this is how justice turned out. I have been taken here to the prison for answering a call from a friend, I didn’t know what he was engaged with and the police intervened and brought me here. Until this day, I don’t even know why I am here, but I know that God exists and I will fight until the end to get my freedom because I have an old mother who is waiting for me. Before I used to provide for her/ I was the one who gave her money so she could survive, but now I don’t know how she is, I can’t even communicate with her. I have so many things to say but I don’t know how...


The women's prison in Cusco, in between a dirt road and the Andes mountains  

The women's prison in Cusco, in between a dirt road and the Andes mountains

At the moment when they detained me I felt scared and I needed to know why no one was explaining anything. Everyone was pointing big weapons at me and they kept me on the floor with handcuffs and no one wanted to give me an explication and the truth is that I had never thought they would take me here because I didn’t do anything. I am here wrongfully.

There is nothing nice about entering the prison. To begin with people look at you weirdly. They want to become your friend but its pure hypocrisy they just want to take something, they want you to borrow them money or clothes that’s the only reason they come up to you.

But now that I have been a prisoner for two years I have learned who I can give my friendship to and who I can’t.

The workshop inside the prison where we are setting up production for Carcel.

The workshop inside the prison where we are setting up production for Carcel.

To live here is sad because sometimes there is a birthday or mother’s day but more than anything Christmas and New Year, and we want to be with our family but it is impossible. I “Anabel” especially am a person very different from everyone which is why they tell me that I am a boring person. But why would I celebrate anything in here? I don’t give hugs to anyone and I don’t even like when they hug me and say happy birthday or happy New Year. If they do it, it bothers me, because happy is not what I am. 

Sunday is the most boring day of all because I don’t get visits and the truth is I smoke a bunch of cigarettes. Monday to Friday I come here to the workshop from 9am to 4pm.  I work with the machine and sometimes by hand so I can kill time. To be inside ‘the population’ (other inmates) is more boring.

I only get a visit every three months or so, or not at all. My niece sometimes comes on Saturdays at 4pm and she stays 5 or 10 minutes. After she leaves, it’s sad to be here. 

The thing I miss the most is my mother, I long to be together with her, I long to give her a big hug even if it was just for 2 minutes. My mother is the reason that I exist and my niece, who is also my goddaughter. I think about struggling for my freedom until I get it, then if I get released I want to go to another country. If I get out on conditional release, well, then I would work until I finish my sentence and I would like to have my own company selling teddy bears because I make beautiful things by hand.

Discussing Carcel designs and trying out the fit of the t-shirt.   

Discussing Carcel designs and trying out the fit of the t-shirt. 

I work from 9am to 4pm in the workshop and in the evening I can do my own handknitting with yarn that I buy. I can make bunnies and dolls in pure wool.

I do make a bit of money here but very little. I understand that I am in prison and it’s not like on the outside but I would like to work more to have more money.

I need money for all kinds of things, toiletries, if I don’t have money I don’t even have clothes. Money is for everything. Right now I need to make more money for Christmas to send to my mother and to my goddaughter Sheyla.  

I would like to have more work to do. I want to work in the workshop during the day and in the evening I would like to be given work to do by hand, or whatever else, I would do it so I could send something to my mother.

It’s good to have a job, firstly, because if I don’t work I think I would go crazy or I would just fight and discuss with people, it is boring not to work. Also, if I didn’t work I wouldn’t even have money to phone my family or buy something that I need.


Anabel's letter

Anabel's letter

"Anabel" is incarcerated in Cusco's women's prison. She will be making your clothes in 100% baby alpaca. We give her and her fellow inmates skills and training. With every order, women in prison get to earn an income. This way, they can support themselves, their children or family and gain dignity and purpose behind bars. 

We share this story with you so you can get to know a little more about who is making your clothes. Some of the women we work with have pledged guilty and some not guilty.  But we do not judge and it is not our business to investigate their cases. Our mission is to give the women who are motivated the best possible opportunity to get a better life during and after prison.  

stinne wilhelmsen