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18 Powerful Photos Of Criminals Turned Thespians

Photographer Clara Vannucci captures an extraordinary prison program that transforms felons into talented actors.

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Photographer Clara Vannucci captures an extraordinary prison rehabilitation program that is changing the hearts and minds of hardened criminals.

In 1988, Italian playwright and director Armando Punzo founded the Compagnia della Fortezza, a theater company comprised of dangerous felons and hardcore “lifers.”

Since then, the program has established itself as a highly motivational and therapeutic method for working with violent offenders in Europe.

And succeeded in educating prisoners to become fully functional members of mainstream society.

The program teaches inmates to read and write, to work collaboratively, and to be responsible for each other and themselves.

Through the process of learning how to play a role, they also learn how to make wiser decisions when they are released back into society.

Clara writes, "During the day they are free to walk around the square without being guarded. They are free to socialize in local cafes. And in the evening they perform to sold-out crowds."

"I asked a prisoner why no one tried to escape since they had chances."

He said, "Why should I run? Where would I go? Twenty years I’ve lived in prison. Now I have something to live for. Life has meaning."

Clara Vannucci is a photographer specializing in editorial and commercial projects. To view more of her work, check out her website at http://www.claravannucci.com/.

*To share your photo essays and ideas, please contact our Photo Essay Editor at Gabriel.Sanchez@BuzzFeed.com

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