ITAUGUA, Paraguay (AP) — A correctional school for young offenders outside Paraguay's capital is giving 16 teenage inmates a shot at a second chance by letting them learn to make guitars and other instruments from wood.
The teens, all held for drug offenses or theft, earned a place in the class with good behavior.
"It is a joy to participate in the workshop because life is not pleasant without anything to do," said Julio, who showed off his fingers with traces of burns from the crack pipe he used to smoke.
Alex, another student, was busy molding cedar. "I'm determined to make my first guitar," he said. "The steps to follow are not very complicated, but you have to be very precise."
The boys' full names couldn't legally be disclosed.
Warden Orlando Castillo said the class is run by woodworker Anibal Borja and his daughter Luz, who provide tools, wood and their time to help the teens.
The class is one of the educational programs offered at La Esperanza prison, a minimum-security jail without armed guards in Itaugua, a village 26 kilometers (16 miles) from Asuncion.
Castillo said the students all showed eagerness to learn a trade that can help them once they are out of jail.
In addition, he said, "The guitars will be sold and the money will be shared equally when they are released."