SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (AP) -- Inside one of Honduras' most dangerous and overcrowded prisons, inmates operate a free-market bazaar, selling everything from iPhones to prostitutes.
It's more like a fenced-in town than a conventional prison, where raccoons, chickens and pigs wander freely among food stalls and in troughs of open sewage. But guards do not dare cross the painted, yellow "linea de la muerte" (line of death) into the inner sanctum run by prisoners, and prisoners do not breach the perimeter controlled by guards.
"The prisoners rule," assistant prison director Carlos Polanco told The Associated Press. "We only handle external security. They know if they cross the line, we can shoot."

The unofficial division of power at the San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility is mimicked throughout the country, where a Lord-of-the-Flies system allows inmates to run a business behind bars, while officials turn a blind eye in exchange for a cut of the profits they say is spent on prison needs.
This culture virtually guarantees that even in the glare of international scrutiny over a fire that killed 361 prisoners at another Honduran prison three months ago, little stands to change. [15 photos total]

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In this May 3, 2012 photo, an inmate, handcuffed to the bars of his cell as punishment for beating a guard, smokes a cigarette at the San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Inside one of Honduras' most dangerous and overcrowded prisons, inmates operate a free-market bazaar, selling everything from iPhones to prostitutes. Guards do not cross into the inner sanctum controlled by prisoners, and prisoners do not breach the perimeter controlled by guards. (AP / Rodrigo Abd) #
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In this May 3, 2012 photo, inmates gather outside their cells in San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (AP / Rodrigo Abd) #
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In this May 3, 2012 photo, inmates make bets as they play a game of "Chingolingo" in San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (AP / Rodrigo Abd) #
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In this May 2, 2012 photo, inmate Denis Castillo cuddles with his wife Reina Lopez and their son Dermin Valentin during visiting hours at the San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (AP / Rodrigo Abd) #
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In this May 3, 2012 photo, inmates gather in their cell in San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (AP / Rodrigo Abd) #
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In this May 3, 2012 photo, inmates Carlos Alfredo Ramos, sitting left, and Jorge Correa create glass handicrafts to sell outside Pedro Sula prison in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (AP / Rodrigo Abd) #
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In this May 3, 2012 photo, a portrait of Graciela Palacios, the four-year-old daughter of inmate Armando Palacios, hangs in his cell area in San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (AP / Rodrigo Abd) #
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In this May 2, 2012 photo, inmate Brian Alexandre, 20, cuts Marvin Baca's hair inside his barber shop in San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (AP / Rodrigo Abd) #
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In this May 3, 2012 photo, inmate Jesus Hugo Hernandez, 85, sits in his bed inside his cell in San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (AP / Rodrigo Abd) #
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In this May 3, 2012 photo, inmates sleep inside their cell in San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (AP / Rodrigo Abd) #
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In this May 2, 2012 photo, a prison guard yawns as he get his shoes shined at the San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (AP / Rodrigo Abd) #
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This May 2, 2012 photo shows a general view of San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (AP / Rodrigo Abd) #
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In this May 2, 2012 photo, Estela Iojana holds her son Marcos as she stands outside the cell of her husband at the San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (AP / Rodrigo Abd) #
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In this May 2, 2012 photo, inmates use a mirror to see outside their cell in San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (AP / Rodrigo Abd) #
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In this May 2, 2012 photo, inmates peer from inside their cell in San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (AP / Rodrigo Abd) #

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