Sunday, 17 February 2013

Spotlight on Social Justice: Alpha 5 San Lucas Island

Continuing with our theme of Social Justice in the lead up to the 20th February, two of our Venturers on San Lucas Prison Island expressed their thoughts:

Olly Wolrond took in his surroundings on San Lucas Island and considered the Penal System:
The jetty where prisoners would arrive at San Lucas Prison

"In a perfect society, everyone must have access to swift and powerful justice without this there can be no socially just society. After all, what better way is there to make everyone equal than to hold them to the same just laws."

"It is the second condition of this justice that gives rise to a penal system. That is they must be powerful enough to punish crimes but it is a mark of a society how it deals with those that break it's codes. The horrific conditions we have heard about that existed at San Lucas prison reveal how the abuse of a penal system can lead to tragedy and lowered the gaolers to inhumane levels."
The renovated entrance to the prison compound

"In a truly socially just society incarceration must only be used if all other forms of sentence are exhausted or would not suffice. For example: restorative justice, education, rehabilitation and support for the perpetration of a crime are all more effective than incarceration, as the ultimate aim of a criminal legal system is to make sure it never breaks the codes of society again. If they can do that themselves, with help and guidance then brilliant but if not the taking of individuals liberty, a basic human right, is the last resort. This forcefully stops them from breaking society's rules and is applicable when they are judged to be too dangerous to be allowed back into a socially just society; their crime is too severe to escape punishment."

"Conversely, the penal system in a socially unjust society can be used to detain those who are trying to change society for the better, leading to prisoners of conscience. This is all too common and is occurring today in the world and it is an important consideration when thinking of social injustice in the world."
Alpha 5 at sunrise

Matt Heathcote on San Lucas Island and Social Justice
Holly peering into the well where men were put for up to 5 days in knee deep water as punishment

"When San Lucas closed in 1991, a new chapter began for social justice in Costa Rica. Allegations of brutality, torture and the failure to respect the basic needs of the individual prisoners meant that the island had no place in modern society. San Lucas portrayed the worst of humanity in how other humans treated fellow humans."

A section of one of the prison cells showing the nature of one of the gang's incarceration

"Nowadays 'The Island of the Lonely Men' represents a new chance for social justice to blossom through giving people the opportunity to bear witness and learn about the violations. Furthermore through redeveloping the prison via maintaining and creating new trails and educating visitors, we hope to promote the vision of a world where all humans maybe treated fairly and equally both before the law and each other, while receiving the basic essentials for a happy and fulfilling life."

All of the Alphas are doing really well, working hard and will be back at Fieldbase on the 21st February, so lots of updates to come.


  1. For Emily Elliott Alpha 5
    Em! So having sent you about 5 messages off my mac over the past few weeks, I have a feeling you havent received them as me and Lil have worked out we dont think messages off macs work for some reason. So Im in my geogaphy faculty computer room sending this yey!
    Hope everythings going amazingly and youre having a great time. I bet the sun tans coming on nicely too. Its been freezing here.
    In my previous messages Ive been chatting about coaxing as ive started this term and now have my own crew of 8 men, its hilarious. im so bad, i have a race on friday too. HELP ME. i rowed past caroline the other morning and apparently her whole boat were laughing at me as i was holding the river up, whoops.
    ive started and finished homeland too-so so good. This weeks work is going to kill me, i have 2 essays (normally only get one).
    Also got my 'first year dinner' tomorrow night which should be nice, its like a celebration of getting half way through your first year kinda thing.
    jack came up to cambridge this weekend, so we did lots of touristy things, took him round some colleges, bought fudge etc. we both have zero money...again.
    Anway this is quite a long message so I'll round off by saying i miss you lots and carry on having a ball
    libs xxxx

  2. For Florentine Claus Alpha 10 Expedition 13A

    Hoi Floor,
    Mam en ik zijn nu al weer een week terug uit Costa Rica. Last gehad van Jetlag, maar nu gaat alles wel weer. Het laatste stuk van de reis hebben we ook genoten. Heerlijk aan zee en gegolfd. Dat ging goed en mam heeft zelfs goed gespeeld en twee keer 18 holes volgehouden. Nu druk aan het werk. Benieuwd hoe jij het hebt in Nicaragua. Hoop dat het allemaal te doen is. Veel slepen met materialen lijkt me of koken de meisjes meer dan ze slepen en bouwen. Je komt nu al weer snel terug naar Base camp. Benieuwd naar je verhalen en wat het nieuwe project zal zijn en met wie. Liefs, Pap

  3. for Olly Walrond Alpha 5 13A
    Hi Olly! Just read your piece on the penal system and seen the photos of San Lucas. Well done - as you can imagine we are very proud parents! Been up to Cardiff to see F and G and G. Fred had a chance to move into Uni hall flat with James,Dom, etc but may not be poss as it may have been given to an Erasmus student instead. So he's quite er cross. No word yet from Eric, who has had a couple of days in Austria by now, but I suppose no news is good news, as they say. Writing this to you in lovely cottage in East Prawle (house opposite the Shippen)and have been down to beach as the sun set. Very cold wind, but gorgeous clear day. Off to Pig's Nose for supper soon (with Clem, fingers crossed). Done first shift with Sams, which went OK.Dad says Man U 12 points clear of Man City, which is supposed to be good news, I think.England cricket lose first ODI in NZ, having won T20 seires against them. Lots of love from all, maybe speak at swap over, Mum and Dadxxxx

    Hey Matt!!! so good to see some news from the hard work over the last 2 weeks. Bethan, Dad and I think the San Lucas Island looks beautiful, even though it has a horrid past.
    We all really enjoyed your contribution on Alpha 5 Blog,(also liked Olly's)
    No news from freezing Bishops Stortford. Cats are green for going out and still in two pieces!
    Cassie has lost her bed to the evil twins so she is feeling a little pathetic and we think she really misses you.Bethan spent the day at Cambridge last Friday for her taster day and is now on half term and she is revising hard (ish).
    Nobody has dared to go up to the attic since you left!!!! only the kittens.Continue to enjoy and work hard...soo many people send their love, too many to mention.
    Ps we have managed to cut our TESCO bill in half!!!
    Love Chris, Irene, Bethan, Cassie, Theo and Winstonxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  5. Para: Adriana Gonzalez Cruz. 13A. Alpha 6

    Cuando estoy en el valle central siempre ando mi mano dentro del bolsillo, y dentro del bolsillo un puño,y dentro del puño escondo sus llaves, con fuerza para que no se me escapen. Pero casi nunca me animo a usarlas, porque sé que la puerta que abren guarda a un lobo que me vigila cuando me siento en su sillon, cuando paso las paginas de sus libros, cuando me arrecuesto en su cama y cuando me quedo fijo viendo la foto de Marlon. Un lobo que me grita por dentro: soledad, santuario, firmamento, desencuentro. Es por esto que opto por caminar con las llaves dentro del puño, opto por detenerme en cada semáforo y antes de cruzar mirar bien hacia la otra esquina por si hay alguien ahí, del otro lado, esperando la luz verde para correr hacia el centro de la calle. Apretar el puño, cerrar los ojos e imaginarme que estas dentro.



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