MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters) June 9 - Inmates at a jail in Ciudad Juarez on the U.S. border, where more than 300 women have been murdered over the past decade, are enjoying aromatherapy and piped classical music as part of a novel rehabilitation program.
This month the prison authorities began burning scented oils and playing soft music for a group of 25 "violent and disturbed" inmates.
"It is a unique program to help the most psychologically and socially damaged prisoners, whose grave crimes have shaken society," prison governor Arturo Herrera told Reuters.
"We play them Mozart and give them occupational, play and aroma therapies to relax them for evaluation."
The group receiving the special treatment includes murderers and rapists serving up to 40-year sentences. They will be integrated into the mainstream prison system once they have been evaluated.
"We don't want the prisoners to pass through the jail without being looked after properly," Herrera said. "We have to treat them like human beings."
The treatment fills the air with musky scents like sandalwood. But those convicted of some of the hundreds of murders of women in the area are not able to enjoy it. They are held in a separate isolation block.
Mexican jails are among the most overcrowded and violent in the world. The Ciudad Juarez prison, built in 1980 to house 1,600 prisoners, has 4,020 inmates crammed into its cells.