Convicted murderer wins crown

In
a country known for its beauty — both natural and human — it appears that
even Brazil’s convicted killers are easy on the eye.

A
prison in Recife, a city in the state of Pernambuco, recently held its
inaugural Miss Jail pageant to join a growing global list of contests for
beauties behind bars.

“It’s
flattering that people think I am pretty,” said the winner of Miss Jail
2011, 19-year-old convicted murderer Rebecca Rhaysa Suelen Guedesin.

“I
don’t have a boyfriend at the moment,” added Guedesin, who maintains her
innocence even though she is serving a life sentence for her crime.

“I
am just focused on getting out of here. I never killed anyone, so I hope to
return to normal life one day soon.”

Twelve
contestants were judged for beauty, general knowledge and their good behavior
record. First prize included about $1,000 in cash to be deposited in the
winner’s prison bank account.

“It
was a real thrill to be cheered by the inmates and the guards,” Guedesin
said after her win. “Sadly the dress has to go now and it’s back to prison
routine.”

Brazil’s
Ministry of Social Development and Human Rights organized the contest within a
jail system more known for its ugly brutality.

In
one recent reported case, a 15-year-old girl was held for a month in a cell
with 20 adult men and subjected to rape and torture.

According
to Brazil’s Justice Ministry, 40 per cent of female inmates are in prison for
drug trafficking and 21 per cent for theft.

Miss
Jail is the latest in a growing trend.

Prison
beauty pageants have also been held in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, as
well as in Russia, Colombia and Lithuania.

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