But once a year they’re allowed to swap their prison uniforms for high heels and glamorous gowns as they hold a beauty pageant on the inside.
Ten inmates strutted along a makeshift catwalk on Wednesday after having their hair and make-up done at the Talavera Bruce jail notorious for fights and riots.
In the event to improve their self esteem, they were judged on their beauty, appeal and attitude as the prison’s other 440 inmates and relatives applauded.
This year’s Miss Talavera Bruce was 29-year-old Mayana Alves, who had seven arrest warrants when she was arrested in 2015 for cargo theft.
‘Everyone is very glad to be with their family, she said. ‘Walking the catwalk, I was nervous but happy at the same time. She added: ‘I just wish I had won my freedom as well and could my sash with me out of here.’
Last year’s winner Michelle Rangel, a 28-year-old drug trafficker, said: ‘During this moment, I don’t feel like I am in jail. My soul is freed.’