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Jackie Dewe Mathews January 10, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Brazil.

Capital Penitentiary for Women. Sao Paulo, Brazil 2010

Jackie Dewe Mathews (b.1978, England) worked in the film industry as a freelance camera assistant on feature films and commercials. Her continued interest in cinematography has informed her photography practice which she was able to develop during an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication in 2007. Her work has been published in the Saturday Telegraph, the Sunday Times, the Guardian, Stern and other European Magazines. In 2008 she was awarded the Joan Wakelin bursary for a social documentary project from the Guardian newspaper and the Royal Photographic Society. In 2009 she was selected by the Magenta Foundation for emerging photographers. In 2010 she was a runner up in the Ojodepez and Julia Margret Cameron awards.

About the Photograph:

“This picture is from a series of portraits of foreign women imprisoned for drug trafficking at Sao Paulo’s Capital Penitentiary for Women, where foreigners make up over half the prison population. Their numbers have seen a huge increase in recent years, as Sao Paulo Guarulhos International airport has become the main exit point for drug mules carrying cocaine from South America to the rest of the world. Many of the drug mules, have never committed a crime before. If caught, they face long sentences of three to fifteen years in a foreign jail with the right to just two phone calls a year. This Portuguese girl, of Cape Verde descent, was tricked by a friend into taking her place as a drug mule on a trip to Brazil. Her friend had asked her for help and she felt she couldn’t say no. The explanation is often as innocent as that. It was the first time she had ever seen drugs. She has been in prison for ten months and is still awaiting her sentence.”


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