20th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest People
Prayer in the death sentence quarter of the Central Prison of Douala, Cameroon

A group of inmates share a moment of communal prayer and recollection inside the death center quarter of the Central Prison of Douala in Cameroon. Conditions inside the prison are extreme, with daily human rights breaches, chronic overpopulation, severe hygienic and medical deficiencies and scarce legal support for prisoners. Inside this chaotic structure, where prisoners are mostly abandoned to their own means of survival, moments of solidarity, spirituality and silence are very scarce, but deeply felt when they occur as shown on the serious and meditative faces of the young men portrayed in this photo. In an environment of such intense hostility and pain, instants of collectiveness, hope and shared humanity acquire an extra layer of necessity and emotion.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 05.2021
Date Uploaded: 10.2022
Photo Location: Douala, Cameroon
Copyright: © Dione Roach