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December 14, 2012

Raised Behind Bars

Five years ago, Reuters photographer Carolina Camps documented the stories found in the maternity wing of a women's prison in Los Hornos, Argentina. The prison not only housed female inmates, it was also home to 63 of their children, who were allowed to live with their mothers inside the jail until they were four years old. Now, half a decade on, Camps tracked down four of the women to see what had become of them and of their young families. -- Paula Nelson ( 30 photos total)

This combination photograph shows Valeria Cigara posing when she was pregnant with her daughter Milagros as she was serving a sentence for robbery in the Los Hornos women's prison in La Plata November 4, 2007; and Cigara hugging Milagros, now four-year-old, during a visit by Milagros to her mother's latest prison in Magdalena, where Cigara is awaiting trial for a fourth case of robbery August 19, 2012. Cigara raised Milagros in prison with her until she turned two. Argentine law allows women prisoners to raise their infant children in jail until the age of four, after which they must leave to live with family or in a state home. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)

Jorgelina and her niece, four-year-old Milagros, whose mother Valeria Cigara, 28, is currently in prison, travel to visit Cigara in La Plata, August 19, 2012. Cigara, who is in jail awaiting trial for a fourth case of robbery, admits that she suffers from drug addiction and has requested treatment from the prison system. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Valeria Cigara takes a shower in Magdalena, August 21, 2012. Cigara, who is in jail awaiting trial for a fourth case of robbery, admits that she suffers from drug addiction and has requested treatment from the prison system. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Four-year-old Milagros is helped to get dressed by her grandmother, Silvia, after she was searched before visiting her mother Valeria Cigara who is currently in prison, August 19, 2012. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

cFour-year-old Milagros watches at a security guard inking the fingers of her grandmother, Silvia, before allowing them to visit Milagros' mother Valeria Cigara who is in prison awaiting trial for robbery. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Milagros peers at her mother Valeria Cigara, far inside the cell. (Carolina Camps/Reuters) #

Valeria Cigara, 28, who is currently in prison awaiting trial for robbery, walks with her four-year-old daughter Milagros and her sister Jorgelina down the prison corridors in Magdalena, August 19, 2012. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Milagros puts on lipstick while her mother Valeria Cigara watches in Magdalena, August 19, 2012. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Valeria Cigara plays with her four-year-old daughter, Milagros, in Magdalena, August 19, 2012. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Milagros plays with her soft toys in La Plata, August 31, 2012. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

A combination photograph shows Silvia Rodas posing with her four-year-old daughter Anahi in the Los Hornos women's prison in Buenos Aires, where she was serving a sentence for robbery and attempted homicide, Oct. 17, 2007; and Rodas dancing with Anahi, 9, during a visit to her mother's prison in Bahia Blanca, 350 miles (563 km) south of Buenos Aires, October 14, 2012. Rodas raised Anahi in prison with her until she turned four. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Silvia Rodas, 25, lies in bed with her girlfriend Yesica in their shared cell in Bahia Blanca, 350 miles (563 km) south of the capital Buenos Aires, Oct. 16, 2012. Rodas was convicted of robbery and attempted homicide at the age of 19 and has since done stints in all the prisons in Buenos Aires province, being moved around due to bad conduct. She ended up in Bahia Blanca, the last prison that would accept her. Her daughter Anahi was three years old when she was convicted and lived in prison with her until she was five. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Anahi, 9, holds a flower for her mother Silvia Rodas during a visit to the prison in Bahia Blanca, Oct. 14, 2012. Rodas was convicted of robbery and attempted homicide at the age of 19. (Caroline Camps/Reuters)#

Anahi spends time with her mother, Silvia Rodas, and grandfather Carlos during a visit to meet her mother who is serving a 15-year sentence prison in Bahia Blanca, Oct. 14, 2012. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Anahi reads with her mother, who is serving a 15-year sentence in prison in Bahia Blanca, Oct. 14, 2012. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Silvia Rodas talks with her four-year-old daughter Anahi inside her cell at the Unidad (Unit) 33 prison in Los Hornos, near La Plata, Oct. 17, 2007. Anahi was three years old when she was convicted and lived in prison with her until she was five. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Anahi, now 9, plays with her mother Silvia Rodas during a visit to the prison. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Anahi hugs her mother, Silvia Rodas, 25, after visiting her at the prison where she is serving a 15-year sentence in Bahia Blanca, Oct. 14, 2012. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

This combination photograph shows Julia Romero posing with her two-year-old son, Lautaro, in the Los Hornos women's prison, where she was serving a sentence for homicide, in La Plata, Oct. 13, 2007; and holding hands with Lautaro, now six-years-old, outside their home in Buenos Aires, July 29, 2012. Romero raised Lautaro in prison with her until her sentence was commuted to house arrest in 2010. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Julia Romero, 42, who is under house arrest to serve the last 11 years of an 18-year sentence for homicide, lies in bed with her boyfriend, Oscar, and six-year-old son Lautaro at their home in Buenos Aires, July 29, 2012. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Julia Romero survives by selling household items through the window of her kitchen 24 hours a day, which is her only contact with the outside world. Romero was pregnant with her son Lautaro in 2005 when she was convicted and raised her son in prison until he was four. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Julia Romero hangs clothes on a line as her six-year-old son, Lautaro, watches television in their home in Buenos Aires, July 28, 2012. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Julia Romero kisses her six-year-old son, Lautaro, from their home in Buenos Aires August 10, 2012. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Julia Romero waits for customers at her kiosk in Buenos Aires, August 10, 2012. Romero survives by selling household items through the window of her kitchen 24 hours a day. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

This combination photograph shows Sandra Valdez posing with her one-year-old daughter, Nicole, in the Los Hornos women's prison, where she was serving a sentence for drug trafficking in La Plata, Oct. 13, 2007; and Valdez giving flowers to Nicole, now six-years-old, at her home in Buenos Aires, Sept, 21, 2012. Valdez raised Nicole in the prison with her until she finished her two-year sentence. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Sandra Valdez, with her eight-month-old daughter Nicole, looks through bars at the Unidad (Unit) 33 prison in Los Hornos, near La Plata, Oct. 13, 2007. Valdez has nine children from three different relationships, and now lives with a fourth partner in a slum on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, receiving subsidies to help feed three of her youngest kids. Valdez was pregnant with Nicole in 2006 when she was sentenced to two years in prison for selling drugs. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Sandra Valdez, 40, sweeps outside her home in Buenos Aires, September 5, 2012. Valdez has nine children from three different relationships, and now lives with a fourth partner in a slum on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, receiving subsidies to help feed three of her youngest kids. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Nicole, 5, gestures as her mother Sandra Valdez, 40, styles her hair before going to kindergarten at their home in Buenos Aires, Sept. 14, 2012. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Sandra Valdez prepares a hot drink alongside three of her children Nicole, Leonel and Ezequiel, at their home in Buenos Aires, Sept. 21, 2012. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#

Sandra Valdez looks out through the gates of her home in Buenos Aires, September 21, 2012. Valdez has nine children from three different relationships, and now lives with a fourth partner in a slum on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, receiving subsidies to help feed three of her youngest kids. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)#
 
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