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  1. ITV Report

Women prisoners in Brazil decorate their cells for Christmas

Female prisoners in Brazil are getting into the Christmas spirit by decorating their cells in festive style.

Over 500 women at the Nelson Hungria prison in the capital of Rio take part in an annual contest.

They collect scraps of paper, plastic bottles and even foil lids from meals to make decorations.

It's part of the prison's talent competition, which aims to help them cope with spending the holidays far from their loved ones and children.

"For me [the competition] is very important, although hoping to win is not why we do it," said inmate Marciana Soares Gaspar.

"We do it for the joy of it, because Christmas in her eis very difficult, and we made the best with what we have.

"It is all recycled materials and we gave it our very best."

Inmates also perform passages from the bible with costumes, singing and dancing for the Christmas "brilliant cell" contest.

There are prizes on offer both for best cell and best performance.

Prison bosses say it's not just for fun.

They hope the women - who are serving sentence from crimes ranging from drug offences to murder - may gain self-esteem and even skills that may help them rebuild their lives on their release.

"We believe that human beings can be rehabilitated, we believe that a change is possible, and we are working to make it happen." said the prison's director Ana Gabriela Rosa Maia.