For one year, every week, Argentine photographer Adriana Lestido visited and took photographs of the woman and children at Los Hornos Prison in La Plata, Argentina. The country is one of the few where an accused or prosecuted woman has the right to be with their child in prison until the boy or girl is two years old. (In the US, where more than 120,000 imprisoned women have children under 18, only nine states have prison nurseries.) When the child turns two, the mother loses parental authority and a judge decides the child’s destiny.
Adriana Lestido said of her experience: “I soon learnt that my ideas of this situation were far too romantic. The children who share the jail with their mother, even though they might be very important for her, play a secondary and silent role. It is difficult at first to know who is whose son. Some are loved and cared for, others are ill-treated. They are the only possessions women in jail can have.”
Note: Los Hornos was recently revisited by Reuters photographers Carolina Camps and Ulises Rodriguez: