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World News

Prisoners in Portugal build 150 confessionals ahead of Pope's visit

by Donna Birrell

Inmates at three prisons in Portugal have been building wooden confessional booths ahead of the Pope’s visit to the country. The 150 booths will be displayed in the Park for Forgiveness in the capital, Lisbon when Pope Francis visits this week and 2,000 priests have signed up to hear confessions in 55 languages.

Tiago Espanhol who is an inmate at Porto’s Prison Establishment says the work helps time go by a little faster:

"We use our time [here] and it's good for us. Working is better for us to see if we can go home as soon as possible. We always have work, we always work. We are entertained [here] and we are learning so we can contribute to something when we leave jail.”

Organisers say projects like this could help with reintegration after leaving prison.

Prison director, Jose Julio said:"For us it is important for people to know that positive things are also done inside prisons and that they are done by prison labour in prisons across the country."

Over a million pilgrims are expected in Portugal for the Pope’s visit which begins with the opening of World Youth Day on Tuesday, 31 July.

(Based on a report by Reuters) 


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