A tattooed inmate at the Centro Preventivo y de Cumplimiento de Penas Ciudad Barrios. The prison is reserved for members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS) gang. The prison has no guards and is run by the members of the gang. Since opening in 1999, the prison has filled up with gang members and now holds twice as many inmates as it was initially intended for. Conditions are extremely overcrowded and unsanitary and violence is common.
In March 2012, the two largest gangs in El Salvador – the Mara Salvatrucha (MS) and the Barrio 18 (M18) – agreed on a truce following secret negotiations between gang leaders in prison which were mediated by a bishop and a former rebel leader. It is unclear whether the decision was the idea of the gangs themselves or whether they were encouraged by the government. The murder and kidnapping rate has fallen significantly since the beginning of the truce but it remains unclear how long the truce will hold. (Photo by Adam Hinton)