A newspaper has reported that Venezuelan inmates have opened their own nightclub and hosted friends and family at an inaugural bash complete with strippers and a light and sound show.
The late-night party highlighted the plight of the crime-ridden country's overcrowded penal system, where criminals often use bribery and intimidation to exercise virtual control over the facilities built to incarcerate them.
The so-called "Yacht Club" at a prison on Margarita Island in the Caribbean boasts "professional sound, spectacular lights, air conditioning, strippers, bad girls and all the toys," the inmates wrote in an invitation to their opening night gig, according to the El Universel newspaper.
It quoted sources in the Ministry of Corrections -- which has not yet commented publicly on the incident -- as saying the party lasted from Thursday night until the early morning hours on Friday.
Venezuela has one of the highest crime rates in the world, and its prisons are plagued by overcrowding and violence that has claimed the lives of nearly 600 inmates in 2012 alone.
A non-governmental agency, the Venezuelan Prison Observatory, estimates the country's jails house 48,000 prisoners, nearly three times the official capacity of around 16,500.