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Inmates, corruption rule Honduras' deadly prisons

Rodrigo Abd / AP

An inmate, handcuffed to the bars of his cell as punishment for beating a guard, smokes a cigarette at the San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, May 3.

Inside one of Honduras' most dangerous and overcrowded prisons, inmates operate a free-market bazaar, selling everything from iPhones to prostitutes.

It's more like a fenced-in town than a conventional prison, where raccoons, chickens and pigs wander freely among food stalls and in troughs of open sewage. But guards do not dare cross the painted, yellow "linea de la muerte" (line of death) into the inner sanctum run by prisoners, and prisoners do not breach the perimeter controlled by guards.

-- Reported by the Associated Press

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Rodrigo Abd / AP

A view of San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Inmates peer from inside their cell.

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A prison guard yawns as he gets his shoes shined, May 2.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Inmate Denis Castillo cuddles with his wife, Reina Lopez, and their son Dermin Valentin during visiting hours.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Pigs wade through a ditch inside the San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Inmates take the trash out from their cells.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Inmates use a mirror to see outside their cell.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Inmates wait in line for lunch.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

An inmate, right, pays for food from another prisoner as others wait in line to add to their government-provided meal.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Elderly inmates eat lunch outside their cell.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Inmates make bets as they play a game of "Chingolingo."

Rodrigo Abd / AP

A police officer guards the cells of San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Inmates gather in their cell.

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Inmates gather outside their cells.

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Inmate Brian Alexandre, 20, cuts Marvin Baca's hair inside his barber shop in San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Inmate Augusto Ochoa Rodriguez plays with his 8-month-old daughter Merci Yoana inside his cell during visiting hours.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Inmates rest inside their cell.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Inmate Pedro Hernandez studies Spanish grammar as Marvin Hernandez Pavon, top, weaves a fish net inside their cell.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Inmate Jesus Hugo Hernandez, 85, sits in his bed inside his cell.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Inmates Carlos Alfredo Ramos, sitting left, and Jorge Correa create glass handicrafts to sell outside Pedro Sula prison.

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A portrait of Graciela Palacios, the 4-year-old daughter of inmate Armando Palacios, hangs in his cell area.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Inmates sleep inside their cell.