Prisoners’ passion – Inmates act out crucifixion on Good Friday

Inmates of Mexico City’s Santa Martha Acatitla penitentiary staged a re-enactment of the Passion of Christ on Good Friday as part of an initiative designed to help prisoners with rehabilitation and re-integration.

The performance, which sees prisoners dress up as Roman soldiers and Jesus’ disciples, takes place every year in collaboration with the Mexican Catholic Church. Participants act out the crucifixion of Jesus outside before heading back inside the prison to perform the resurrection.

Jesus Vega, an inmate who played the role of the high priest Annas, said acting in the play gives him a sense of purpose and meaning.

“It is part of what helps us to improve so that people realise that we are not bad people, even though we are here, we are human,” he said.

“We make mistakes but it does not mean that we are all bad or that we are going to go out and keep doing the same things as we did before,” he added.

Undersecretary of Mexico City’s Penitentiary system Hazael Ruiz Ortega said that the initiative has several positive outcomes for inmates who participate.

“They are more participatory, have better controls on the inside, have better relations with the rest of the population and abide by rules, instructions and sign up for treatment,” he stated.

Holy Week is the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday in the Christian calendar, with similar Easter processions taking place in cities all over the world.

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