2 years ago10,000+ Views
Rio de Janeiro's Talavera Bruce is one of Brazil's toughest female detention center - a maximum security lockup in a country human rights organizations know as having the fourth largest population of convicted and imprisoned criminals.
With that being said, it might be surprising to find that such a tough and crowded prison is also home to an annual beauty pageant - where every year, model inmates are invited to compete for the title of 'Miss Talavera Bruce'.
The beauty pageant is hosted by local church groups and human rights organizations, and every year, volunteers help the inmates apply makeup, style their hair, and get dressed into donated outfits for the competition's swimwear and eveningwear competitions.
Both the organizations and Talavera Bruce Penitentiary decided to launch the pageants as a way to help humanize inmates and boost their self-esteems, as many of them are serving sentences of several decades.
Friends and family of the inmates are invited to attend and cheer their loved one on as they compete, and each year, the show is hosted by a celebrity - this time, Brazilian model and actress Carol Nakamura.
Last year's winner was Ana Carolina Rosa de Souza, a 22-year-old convicted of drug trafficking, who claims that her year as Miss Talavera Bruce has inspired her to continue on her path to become a better person, adding that the ten judges participating are looking less at looks and more at social merit:

"The competition is not just about beauty. The judges are looking for the ability to express sympathy."

This year's winner, Michelle Neri Rangel, has been serving out a 39-year sentence since 2010 for prostitution and armed robbery. After beating out nine other contestants, she told local newspapers that she's already felt a vast improvement in her own self-image.

"[This competition] is a question of honor. I'm feeling like a woman, I've learned how to feel like a woman in prison."

How do you feel about beauty pageants for female prisoners? Should we be considering the self-esteem and quality of life of those serving long sentences? Or do these kind of events take away from the severity and significance of 'doing time'?

Let me know in the comments below, and for more WTF news, follow my WTF Street Journal collection!
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@LizaNightshade yup! It's incredibly costly and it neither prevents crime nor does it set people up so they won't be repeat offenders.
2 years agoReply
@shaonnonl5 yup. I've actually heard some says it's a better life then having to work for a living. It's crazy. Don't get me wrong. There are those who go in once and straighten up when they get out. Those that want to do better society makes it hard for them. Especially when it comes to looking for a good paying job. Depending on the crime, they can't even get a job working in the chemical plants as a contractor doing labor work. There are some that believe in second chances and others that would just turn their backs. I always wonder if prisons brought back the electric chair and/or hanging if it would reduce the amount of inmates for fear of a painful death? In my opinion, those that are forever in prison and on death row, why should they have rights when they broke the law? I believe the ones that should have rights are the ones that are given a second chance. The repeat offenders should have their rights taken away and do hard labor to pay for their way. Only give back their rights if they stop repeating. I think it also depends on the type of crime on weather a person should have rights and easy living. This is only my opinion. I don't need any hate words. I know people that have gone to jail. I had a friend, who I lost touch with for years after highs school, I found out he ended up killing his girlfriend's child because she wouldn't stop crying. Even though I know him, I believe a life for a life. You take a life you should give up yours. I don't think he should just sit in jail. That tells me he just got a slap on the hand. He still gets food, a place to sleep, and recreational time. We that don't break the law that lands us in jail have to bust our asses to make a living and/or support a family. Yet, we have to pay so they can have an easy living. In the end, nothing will change about it. I do have more thoughts but I'll just leave it like it is. On another note, Japan is one of the safest places. They have far less crime and if I remember correctly citizens are not allowed to own guns. This topic is a very massive debate and everyone has different thoughts. So far what I remember, Texas (where I live) still does lethal injection. I tend to stay out of certain topics because it causes debates and my thoughts tend to anger people. I mean no offense to anyone. Like I said, I know people that have been in jail or still in jail for drugs, DWI, murder, and sexual assault. Not that I still have anything to do with them.
2 years agoReply
@LizaNightshade wow thanks for your thoughtful response! It is something really difficult to discuss, even among people who are working in the system. From what I've experienced, the prison system in the States has a LOT of problems and there's really not an easy answer One of the things that really bothers me though is that it's SO expensive, and yet it's not actually rehabilitating people. A lot of people end up back in prison BECAUSE of the way we treat people who were incarcerated. They're discriminated against when it comes to jobs that they can apply for, and they're prevented from applying to jobs that tend to be entry-level and not require a lot of education (which is a common factor among people incarcerated- not a lot of access to education or training programs). So then why are we surprised when they break the law again? We make it impossible for them to make a living legally. Based on prison history in the states- no, the death sentence didn't decrease crime. The things proven to prevent crime are affordable mental health resources, more jobs, more access to education, resources for victims of domestic violence, and rehab for people with addiction problems. Systems that punish people after the fact are less effective than ones that remove the reasons people commit crimes in the first place. (and I don't think you're coming off as offensive to anyone! Like I said this is a difficult subject to discuss and I hope that everyone takes their cues from you and discusses in a respectful, thoughtful way)
2 years agoReply
@shannonl5 thank you for that insight! You really completely right! I will take your words in account the next time I end up is a similar discussion. 馃槉
2 years agoReply
@LizaNightshade ^_^ any time!
2 years agoReply