Social Reintegration of Prisoners in Spain 1 Favorite 



Oct 5 2006

Máximas de Seguridad, a survival manual written and illustrated by Jhafis Quintero creates a new voice for the voiceless, vulnerable and underprivileged groups in prisons and creates empathy for those that are labeled as dangerous by society. The manual aims to provide empathy and humanity in light of the public scrutiny that ex-prisoners endure in the transition to social reintegration. Although this message and critique is universally applied across all prison systems, this analysis highlights the implications of the manual being displayed in a gallery in Madrid, Spain as a critique of the Spanish penitentiary system.

Quintero began his career as an artist during his 10-year prison sentence in Costa Rica. Within his time served he found art as an effective substitute for crime and partook in art lessons “to find a way to be himself without harming others” (Perrez-Ratton). Quintero regained his freedom in 2002 and has since been a prolific artist who channels the prison experience within his collective and individual works. Máximas de Seguridad was completed in 2007, 5 years post liberation and brings together a series of illustrations and instructions for surviving and earning respect in prison, as well as a guide to transitioning back to society.

The pocket sized manual is 55 pages long and split into five sections which play with the expectations of prison life, leaning into the extremes while also remaining grounded in the harsh reality that comes with solitude and confinement. Quintero also comments and critiques the social reintegration of prisoners post sentence and shifts in tone to try and garner empathy from potential readers who have never been in the system. The image attached is a prime example of the varying elements Quintero uses throughout text and illustrations. On this page, he provides a very humorous approach to dealing with mistreatment and harassment from the officers on duty. Quintero simultaneously plays on the expectations of the prisoner vs guard dynamic but also sneaks in humor through the footnotes as a way to increase empathy and solidarity. This page sparks particular interest because it covers a very dark and violent issue of abuse, neglect and pain but is masked by humor which reflects a similar pattern throughout the manual. This juxtaposition is what makes Quintero’s critiques and message so compelling and easily digestible to an audience who has experienced this trauma as well as an audience far removed from it.

The manual and many other works by Jhafis Quintero are currently on display at La Neomudejar in Madrid, Spain. Within the Spanish landscape and context, Quintero’s commentary holds significance as Spain continues to be one of the EU countries with the highest imprisonment rates (Cid 148). In Spain specifically, the current legal framework does not support a practice based on rehabilitation. With the wave of public pessimism in Spain targeted towards criminal legislation regarding the resocialization in the context of prison sentences, Máximas de Seguridad is needed now more than ever in the Spanish sphere.

Photo: Quintero, Jhafis. “Máximas De Seguridad”. 2006.[1].pdf

Posted by sandracfranco on

Staff rating: 



How does this project help?


This project is effective in that it calls readers in and provides a platform and voice for commentary and critiques on the prison system.