On October 25, U.S. Ambassador Jean Manes visited La Esperanza Correctional Center to see the “Yo Cambio” program in action. Through vocational training and entrepreneurship, the Yo Cambio program gives inmates the opportunity to rehabilitate themselves and become productive, law-abiding members of society. Accompanied by Colombian Ambassador Fulvia Benavides, Ambassador Manes visited a woodworking shop, shoe shop, crafts workshop, and bakery inside the correctional facility, all staffed by inmates learning marketable job skills and the value of hard work.
Highlighting the importance of second chances in her remarks, Ambassador Manes delivered a donation of 69 books by American authors for the prison’s library.
Since 2011, the government of the United States, through the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), has provided more than $8 million to improve the penitentiary system in El Salvador. Recently, INL has been working with John Jay University of New York on measures to reduce overcrowding in El Salvador’s prisons, and with Catholic Relief Services on rehabilitation and reintegration programs.