Photo/IllutrationOpen-air urinals at Fuchu prison in Fuchu on the outskirts of Tokyo (Photo by Yusuke Kito)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Open-air urinals with no privacy in an exercise yard of a men's prison and inmates receiving dialysis treatment in a row of beds at a medical center are among 44 images taken by college students to show the reality of life behind bars.

The photos snapped by six students majoring in photography at Tokyo Polytechnic University will go on display at an event to be held at Bengoshikaikan, in the capital’s Kasumigaseki district, between Oct. 23 and Nov. 2.

The students were allowed inside prisons and detention centers as part of a joint project with the Center for Prisoners’ Rights, a Tokyo-based nonprofit group.

“We are hoping the exhibition will serve as an opportunity to start a discussion about the country’s criminal justice system by learning more about the life of inmates through photos,” said a member of the advocacy group.

Yusuke Kito, 21, who took a picture of urinals in the exercise yard of Fuchu prison in Fuchu on the outskirts of Tokyo, said his emotions were mixed when he saw the toilets for the first time.

“It felt like that inmates were treated like a laughingstock because it is the norm to cover toilets with walls even in a park,” he said. “But I heard inmates talking cheerfully on the ground.”

Kai Kimura, 21, said one thing that struck him while taking photos was the different ambiance between a prison for men and a prison for women.

“It was like a home for the elderly as a prison staff member pushed a wheelchair for an old woman,” he said following a visit to Tochigi prison, a correctional facility for women, in Tochigi, Tochigi Prefecture.

Other photos to go on display show prisoners undergoing training to become hairdressers and tatami-floored rooms for inmates, along with a calendar marking the date for a birthday party.