In Bolivian prison visited by pope, money buys survival

Two years after 36 people died in a fierce battle between rival gangs, not much has changed inside Bolivia’s biggest prison: Inmates still run the place, it’s badly overcrowded, drugs are cheaper than on the street and money buys survival.In short, the penitentiary that Pope Francis visits Friday for an hour is much like many of Latin America’s penal institutions. Francis has shown a special affection for the imprisoned since being elected pope in 2013. He has frequently met with inmates and on two occasions has washed the feet of prisoners during the pre-Easter Holy Thursday foot-washing ceremony. At Palmasola prison, he planned to lead inmates in prayer and hear testimony.

The pope is not going to get to see what’s happening in the prison.

A former inmate, U.S. businessman Jacob Ostreicher

Francis may get shown a Catholic church-run building where Ostreicher said destitute prisoners at least get a place to sleep. But the chickens that usually have the run of its alleys may be caged.